Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Husband sought in Tbong Khmum province triple homicide



Husband sought in Tbong Khmum province triple homicide

Chraing Phou, pictured at his wedding to Khean Sok Lean, is the key suspect in her murder and those of his two stepsons, aged 11 and 17. His wife was reportedly two months pregnant when she was killed. Supplied
Chraing Phou, pictured at his wedding to Khean Sok Lean, is the key suspect in her murder and those of his two stepsons, aged 11 and 17. His wife was reportedly two months pregnant when she was killed. Photo supplied

Husband sought in Tbong Khmum province triple homicide

Police are still on the hunt for a man suspected of killing his pregnant wife and stepsons with a machete while they slept in their Tbong Khmum province home.

The triple homicide is not an isolated incident – it is at least the seventh high-profile domestic murder so far this year. In this case, as in many others, commune authorities were aware of domestic violence taking place in the home but failed to respond adequately to prevent the killings.

Neighbours found the bodies of Khean Sok Lean, 43, and her sons on Sunday morning, hours after they were killed in Tmar Pich commune, in Tbong Khmum district, authorities said.

Sok Lean, at two months pregnant, was found slumped against the wall of her home, while her sons Thoeun Vannak, 17, and his younger brother Thoeun Theary, 11, were found lying in sleeping positions with their throats slit.

“We know that they were attacked with a long-blade machete. Their throats have been cut,” said James McCabe of the Child Protection Unit, an NGO that investigates crimes against children. “All received horrific injuries to the head and neck.”

Chraing Phou, Sok Lean’s husband, fled the scene, according to Prak Bunann, deputy provincial police chief. Bunann said he was liaising with police in Phou’s home province of Svay Rieng and was closing in on the location of the fugitive, which he declined to disclose late Monday.

Just last week Sok Lean had approached her local commune chief to ask for his intervention, accusing Phou of domestic violence and adultery.

Tmar Pich Commune Chief Tan Thea on Monday confirmed he had been called to deal with the dispute, adding that he was accompanied by commune police and that together they reached a compromise with Phou. They both declined to take legal action, claiming the case was “not serious”, despite Phou’s threatening behaviour – which ultimately proved to foreshadow Sok Lean’s death.

In a thumbprinted document, Phou promised to end the violence and to “stop sharpening his machete”.

“The suspect threatened her [and demanded she] abort the child,” Thea said. “He slapped or beat her a little. When I got there, I did not see any bruises on the face of the woman, so it is not serious.”

“We just only gave him a warning,” he added.Thea said Phou appeared “very intelligent” and “pretended” to understand the authorities’ warnings.

“I feel very sorry about this. I was deceived by that suspect cheating me,” he said.

Commune Police Chief Tim Neang confirmed Thea’s account.

The victim’s older sister, Khean Nim, 47, said the suspect “always felt angry” towards his wife.

“The man killed my sister. This is cruel [enough], but why did he also kill my nephews? The boys had no argument with him,” she said. “I hope the spirits of my sister and my nephews help the police to arrest that man.”

Gender and Development for Cambodia’s Ros Sopheap urged the authorities to place domestic violence victims in safe places before it is too late, and said authorities should not have taken the suspect at his word, as many repeat offenders promise to mend their ways.

“Cambodian society, and especially police, do not really care about domestic violence law,” she said. “If the knife does not cut your own fingers, you don’t know how much it hurts.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there