A teenage monk was charged in Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday over the fatal stabbing of a senior monk at the capital’s Samaki Rainsy pagoda on Monday, according to deputy prosecutor Chea Meth.
“I decided to charge Ly Toeng with violence in aggravating circumstances causing [unintentional] death – Article 224 of the Penal Code,” he said.
Toeng, also known as Chan Sophak, 17, allegedly stabbed Thach Khan, his pagoda’s second deputy chief, after a dispute outside their living quarters. Khan died soon after.
Teng Sino, Meanchey district police chief, said on Tuesday that a murder charge was not appropriate as it appeared a violent clash between the suspect and the victim had occurred and the killing was not premeditated.
According to the National Police, Toeng alleged that Khan had physically beaten him a number of times – a claim another monk at the pagoda has insisted is not true.
If found guilty, Toeng faces up to 15 years in prison.
Most monks at Samaki Rainsy have been involved in a fast-growing activist movement, and some have called for a thorough investigation into Khan’s killing.