Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man sought in murder-kidnapping

Man sought in murder-kidnapping

Authorities conduct a forensic examination in Preah Sihanouk province after a man was murdered.
Authorities conduct a forensic examination in Preah Sihanouk province yesterday after a man was murdered. CPU

Man sought in murder-kidnapping

Several police departments are carrying out an intensive manhunt for a suspect who allegedly murdered a man in Preah Sihanouk province and abducted his 1-month-old child in the early hours of Monday morning.

In a gruesome scene, a 33-year-old man allegedly smashed the head of Pin Sokpal, 34, with a “wooden axe-handle weapon” as he slept on a bed outside his house with his daughter, James McCabe, operations manager for the Phnom Penh-based Child Protection Unit, said yesterday.

After the attack, which occurred at about 10:30am on Monday, McCabe said, the suspect – who authorities declined to identify to the public – took Sokphal’s child, Porn Hamma, and fled the crime scene in Sihanoukville’s Sangkat 1 commune with the infant.

“[Sokpal] was asleep on a bed in front of his house when a male suspect approached him and struck him … causing critical injuries,” McCabe said yesterday. Sokpal died shortly after the attack as a result of the injuries.

Deputy provincial police chief Kol Phally yesterday identified the murder weapon as a garden hoe.

Officials from the Sihanoukville criminal investigation department, Sihanoukville crime scene department, local administration police and local commune police are currently conducting a widespread search across Preah Sihanouk province for the suspect, McCabe said.

The multi-department search began early on Monday morning, and is currently still under way.

“An extensive and exhaustive manhunt [is under way]; there is urgency to locating the child,” McCabe said. “All efforts are being taken by Cambodian National Police in Sihanoukville.… The child is the priority.”

Police searched around the house for the child’s body, but found nothing, Phally said.

Coming up empty in a search within the vicinity of the crime scene for the baby’s body, provincial police also believe that she is still in the custody of the suspect, he added.

“After the murder, and the absence of the baby, our men searched around the victim’s house, but found nothing notable,” Phally said yesterday. “If the baby was killed, the body must be found; but we have concluded that the perpetrator must have kidnapped her.”

Several inquiries into the motive behind the murder and kidnapping are being investigated, McCabe said. However, it is known that the suspect and victim lived within close proximity.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the time of the murder and the name of one of the provinces searched. The killing occurred 10:30am, not 1:30am, and authorities were searching in Preah Sihanouk province, not Kampong Cham. The Post apologises for any confusion.


  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,