Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Official hints domestic murders are inevitable



Official hints domestic murders are inevitable

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak in 2016.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak in 2016. Heng Chivoan

Official hints domestic murders are inevitable

In the wake of a triple homicide stemming from domestic violence, a high-level government official has suggested similar tragedies are unavoidable, despite such killings frequently coming on the heels of pleas for help from victims to local authorities.

In what is at least the seventh high-profile domestic murder this year, a pregnant mother and her two children had their throats slit as they slept in their Tbong Khmum home. Their husband and stepfather, Chraing Phou, the chief suspect, fled the scene and police were continuing to search for him as of late Tuesday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak, meanwhile, said he was aware of the killings and that both police and commune authorities “have concern about this, and we are taking serious action”.

“The first step is to arrest,” he said, hoping that would deter future offenders. “The law must punish them.”

However, when asked about preventative steps the authorities could take, he deflected.

“We cannot avoid this kind of crime; it happens even in other countries, like England,” he said. “We are not living in heaven.”

However, the killing, and many others like it, followed reports from Sok Lean to local officials and police that her husband was violent and threatening towards her. When notified, local officials made Phou promise to end the violence and to stop “sharpening his machete”, but took no legal action.

Thida Khus, executive director of women’s rights group Silaka, said this latest case, like too many others, had “not caught the attention of the local authorities that the whole family is in danger”.

“Not enough action is being done to prevent this,” she said. “Prevention is better than letting it happen.”

“I think there needs to be a lot more sensitivity to the situation, not just arrests, but seeking help, counselling, and security houses for the family and [to protect] the life of the children.”

She urged authorities to intervene earlier, stressing that families did not know where to turn, and added that a critical shortage of social workers limited options of victims.

“There has to be some consequences for the people in charge,” she said.

Phou, meanwhile, continued to evade arrest late Tuesday, according to the Child Protection Unit’s James McCabe.

“Investigations are ongoing and all available resources are being utilised in cooperation with multiple policing agencies,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Show evidence of Chinese military base, critics told

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday said he had had enough of certain countries and opposition groups claiming Cambodia had allowed China to base its military in Cambodia and dared critics to show clear evidence. Hun Sen made the remarks while presiding over a groudbreaking

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a