Officers from the Preah Sihanouk provincial police have begun a probe after a man’s dismembered body was found dumped in sparse forest in Commune IV in Sihanoukville’s Mittapheap district on Tuesday.
Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Chuon Narin said: “The body was discovered in a sparsely vegetated forest area and was wrapped in a mattress and a blanket, all strapped up with plastic bags.
“We have ascertained that the body was that of a male, but beyond that we haven’t made any assumptions about the case, and we are now beginning our investigation,” he said.
Narin did not confirm whether the victim was a Cambodian or foreign national, saying only that the investigation was ongoing.
However, a General Department of Immigration report said the body was found at 9:30am on Tuesday in Village VI’s Group VI and described the victim as a “male, Asian foreigner, approximately 30 years old”.
Based on an initial inspection of the scene by forensic experts, the report said, police were treating the case as murder.
The body is being kept in the mortuary at Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hospital pending instruction from the victim’s relatives and embassy should the body be positively identified.
Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said she was tracking the progress of the case while the police carried out their investigation.
Sotheary said she had never seen a similar case in the province.
“People have been killed and their bodies dumped before, but they were not cut into two pieces like this. The perpetrators in previous cases have more often than not been foreigners.
“In murder cases and other crimes, we have seen that our police officers always make a great effort to arrest the perpetrators and hold them accountable under the law.
“But we don’t always know how to get a conviction when the perpetrator is a foreigner.
“We’re happy that foreigners come to invest legitimately in our country, but of course it causes a lot of concern when foreigners commit criminal offences here,” Sotheary said.
She said that cases of abduction or kidnapping were usually carried out by foreign nationals as Cambodians rarely dared to commit such offences.