A mentally ill man who was chained to a tree by his sister for 10 years will get a home of his own following an outcry on Facebook.
Prek Tameak commune police chief Som Ravuth told The Post on Monday that 47-year-old Cheng Kim Ang had chained Cheng Kim Chheng, 49, by his legs to the trunk of a mango tree in a plantation some distance behind her house.
Ravuth said police had been contacted by Facebook users who had seen a video posted on the social media platform of the man tied to the tree. They described his treatment as inhumane.
“The video clip posted on social media [showed] the very sad [sight] of a man with his legs tied with a chain to the mango tree by his sister. He is very skinny, but the pathetic one is really the sister,” Ravuth said.
She had chained him up when he became violent to his neighbours after developing an untreatable mental illness, he said.
Specialist provincial anti-human trafficking police officials, the head of the Social Affairs Bureau in Khsach Kandal district and officials from other units collaborated to investigate the case and help the man.
Ros Savin, the chief of the provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police bureau, was among officials who attended the scene.
Savin told The Post on Monday that villagers’ accounts and notes from doctors at the capital’s Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital showed that the man did suffer from a mental illness.
“This is not a case of forcible human confinement. It was the last desperate measure by the man’s sister to protect him and stop him from committing crimes against others,” Savin said.
He said that having observed the man, he can be “stubborn and aggressive”.
Savin said the local authorities are working together to build the man a small 4m by 4m home near his sister’s house to live in peacefully and unchained.
Kim Ang said that her brother had developed a mental illness more than a decade ago. She had sold 1ha of land to treat him at a state-run hospital in Takhmao town, but the hospital stopped treating him, saying they did not have the medication for such an illness.
The Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital in Phnom Penh was recommended for further treatment. “He was treated there for four years but did not recover,” Kim Ang said.
She said her brother had caused trouble with neighbours only a month after returning home, including destroying property on three occasions and injuring people on two others.
He had also tried to burn down her wooden home, but neighbours had helped put out the fire.
“We were afraid that he would cause more problems, so I decided to chain him to a mango tree behind my home under a tarpaulin and provide him three meals a day,” Kim Ang said.