Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mentally ill man kills nephew in Kampong Cham

Mentally ill man kills nephew in Kampong Cham

Huon Sarom, 38, was arrested for killing his 3-year-old nephew in Kampong Cham province.
Huon Sarom, 38, was arrested for killing his 3-year-old nephew in Kampong Cham province. Photo supplied

Mentally ill man kills nephew in Kampong Cham

A mentally ill man was arrested on Wednesday in Kampong Cham province over the brutal killing of his 3-year-old nephew, according to police.

Yem Sophal, Kampong Cham deputy police chief, said villagers and police had long been aware of the issues of Huon Sarom, 38, who had been chained in a shack behind his family’s house for years. After breaking free on Wednesday afternoon, Sarom argued with his brother and grabbed his young nephew, according to Sophal.

“While the father approached him, he used an axe to hack the boy many times in his head and back and body – he wanted to kill the father because he had been chained for about four to 10 years,” he said. Sophal said Sarom also tried to attack villagers but they threw rocks at him and knocked him down.

Chaining up the mentally ill for their protection, or the protection of others, is not uncommon in Cambodia, where mental health services are sorely lacking. A programme run by the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) to unchain family members has had some success, but Chhim Sotheara, director of TPO, said long-term solutions are still needed.

“So many patients cannot afford to travel to receive treatment there,” he said. “There are mental health services in some health centres, but the quality is not sufficient to treat chronic and complicated patients.”

James McCabe, of the Child Protection Unit, called the killing “horrific and tragic” due to the innocence of the victim and the difficulty in treating the mentally ill in the Kingdom, adding that “due to his mental state, it is unlikely [Sarom] will be prosecuted”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will

  • Cambodia to remain neutral on ASEAN-China territorial dispute

    Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn told an informal meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers on Wednesday that Cambodia will stay neutral on the South China Sea. He appealed to all stakeholders to continue fostering a conducive environment that contributes to the end

  • Keeping it riel, Cambodia steps up de-dollarisation

    The economic downturn has supplied the National Bank of Cambodia with an opportunity to step up its agenda to return the shine on the riel while coping with Covid-19 challenges Late May, an instruction by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) to financial institutions to

  • ANA finds ancient Sanskrit inscription

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has found a Sanskrit inscription carved on ancient stone. The inscription was discovered on the underside of a stone on Wednesday, in front of the Tonle Snguot temple which workers were cleaning. Archaeologist and Apsara Authority deputy-director Im Sok Rithy