Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Killer’ back in jail after escape

‘Killer’ back in jail after escape

An evidence tag hangs next to the bent bars of a cell door at the Siem Reap provincial police station yesterday after a man charged with the murder of three people escaped from the cell. Photo supplied
An evidence tag hangs next to the bent bars of a cell door at the Siem Reap provincial police station yesterday after a man charged with the murder of three people escaped from the cell. Photo supplied

‘Killer’ back in jail after escape

A teenager who allegedly hacked three boys to death in Siem Reap province on Saturday was rearrested yesterday evening, after escaping from police custody just before dawn.

A huge search operation was launched after Chhorn Chhen, 17, broke out of his police cell at 5am yesterday. The officers who were supposed to be guarding him were ostensibly elsewhere, preparing for a flag-saluting ceremony.

“We apprehended him [Chhen] at 6:10pm after a report from villagers that they saw him walking near the provincial police station,” deputy Siem Reap provincial police chief Thorng Sakun said. “Now we have sent him to a secret location, but it is somewhere from which he will not be able to escape again.”

Sakun blamed Chhen’s escape on staff neglecting their duties.

“It was very careless that they left the suspect without anyone standing by in the room,” he said. “We had secured the door with three locks, but there are two parts of the door, and the suspect broke the upper part, which is close to the ceiling, and escaped.”

Close-up photographs of the break-out scene obtained by the Post show that parts of the cell grill and door were badly corroded, which could have weakened the metal, making it easier for Chhen to force his way out.

Sakun added that the officer who was responsible for guarding Chhen would face a fine and possibly some other sanction.

Director of the National Police’s Child Protection Union James McCabe yesterday said the escape needed to be seen in context. “Escapes from custody happen all around the world,” he said. “It is just unfortunate that in this case it happened to involve a triple murder.”

Police would launch a full inquiry into what had happened, he added.

But the Siem Reap prison investigator for human rights NGO Licadho, Sar Sovannara, was more critical.

“If the suspect had been properly locked in detention, he might not have been able to escape,” he said.

Chhen was first arrested on Saturday in Kok Doung commune, Angkor Chum district, after he allegedly murdered three boys aged 8, 11 and 16 with a scythe, the oldest of whom was the target of the attack.

The suspected killer reportedly made a full confession, and told police he was jealous of the 16-year-old, whom he had spotted on a motorcycle with a girl he liked, and that he had killed the younger boys to eliminate witnesses to his crime.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • Quarantine still a must for all arrivals, in next Covid chapter

    Since early May, an average of five to 10 Cambodian people have died from Covid-19 a day with many others testing positive amid the ongoing community outbreak. At the same time, however, hundreds of patients also recovered a day. The first Covid-19 case in Cambodia was

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of