Police in Mok Kampoul district were hunting for a suspect after a young man was beaten to death on April 15 in Sambuor Meas commune’s Ampil Teuk village of Kandal province.

District police chief Ek Lon identified the victim as Bo Ratana, male, 20, a resident of Anlong Sleng village in the same commune. Police officers were continuing to search for the suspect.

“In this case, our officers were working hard to locate the suspect, a 22 year old man, and pursue legal action. According to our inquiries, the victim was an innocent man,” he said.

The victim’s grandfather, Chan Chea, 57, said that his grandson had dropped out of high school two years ago at the start of the pandemic. In early 2022, he had gone to work with his aunt, transporting pork in Bavet town in Svay Rieng province.

On the eve of Khmer New Year, his grandson visited his home village of Anlong Sleng.

He added that on the afternoon of April 15, the victim and more than 10 of his friends had gone to witness an award presentation ceremony for football players in Ampil Teuk. Hundreds of people attended the ceremony. While his grandson was hugging one of his friends, the suspect hit him on the left temple with a piece of timber. Ratana fell to the ground and died instantly.

“In the village, everyone said that my grandson was an innocent young man. He was not arrogant, and was respectful of children and the elderly. He was never insolent. He had just come to visit the house for a day ... to think he suffered this cruel misfortune,” said Chea.

He went on to say that the suspect and his grandson had never met, as their villages were 10km apart. In addition, his had never known his grandson to get into a fight or even an argument. Thus, neither he nor the victim’s parents had any sense of closure about the murder.

Citing people from the suspect’s village, Chea said the suspect had not lived long in his hometown, and had moved from Stung Treng and Kampong Cham provinces. He was known for causing arguments and fighting, and it was said that he had fled to Ampil teuk village after injuring another man in a fight.

The victim’s grandfather said that at any case, he would leave the investigation up to the police, and wait for the justice system to take its course.