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Police recruit held in murder

Hong Kalydin (centre) is led to a police vehicle by authorities in Phnom Penh
Hong Kalydin (centre) is led to a police vehicle by authorities in Phnom Penh yesterday morning after he was detained at his house by authorities on suspicion of murder. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Police recruit held in murder

A newly recruited police officer has been arrested and charged with the murder of his 20-year-old girlfriend, whose body was discovered floating face-down a few metres from the western bank of the Tonle Sap river last week, according to authorities.

In cooperation with local forces, police with the Ministry of Interior descended on the suspect, 27-year-old Hong Kalydin, at a coffee shop in the city yesterday, detained him, and took him to his Chamkarmon district home nearby. There, they allegedly seized two handguns, a 2014 Toyota Tundra, methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia, according to the deputy head of criminal police at the ministry, Leok Vannak.

After several hours of questioning Kalydin, officials decided to charge him with the murder, as well as with illegally possessing weapons, drug trafficking and using a fake license plate, according to In Bora, chief of the criminal police department.

As of press time, Kalydin had not confessed to the killing.

“Now the suspect is being detained for further questioning and investigation at the criminal department of the Ministry of Interior. He will be sent to the Phnom Penh court for questioning tomorrow,” Bora said.

Kalydin recently passed the test making him eligible to be recruited by any number of police departments.

The victim, Song Davin, was a first-year student at the Vanda Institute of Accounting in Phnom Penh, according to police. Originally from Preah Vihear province, she lived in a rented house in Chamkarmon district. Her family could not be reached yesterday.

On October 7, police fished Davin’s body out of the Tonle Sap just south of the Japanese-Friendship Bridge. It had been bobbing in the water a few metres from the river’s bank and within sight of an elementary school. Police said she was still clothed in a blue dress.

Based on the condition of the body, however, investigators think it was dumped sometime in the previous two days, and that the alleged murder also took place around then. Police did not reveal a cause of death, though they said the body was full of bruises, suggesting a physical attack. At first, the police believed that Davin had been raped, and that her body was thrown into the river in an attempt to cover up the crime. But the later charges excluded rape, and the authorities did not elaborate on a possible motive.

A local police official in the suspect’s neighborhood said Kalydin’s family have lived in the same home since 1979, after the Khmer Rouge fell, and his father went from being a motorbike seller to a car dealer. His mother sells radio accessories from home.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

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