PREAH Sihanouk provincial police believe a group of construction workers may have been responsible for the killing of an Australian man in Sihanoukville last week.
John Edward Thompson, a 47-year-old from New South Wales in eastern Australia, was found dead after he was apparently beaten with acacia branches near a construction site in Sihanoukville’s No 3 commune at around 1am Monday.
Thompson’s 22-year-old girlfriend, Van Lina, told police the victim was carrying 2,000 riels (US$0.48) at the time of the slaying.
Investigating officers say the couple had been living for more than a year in the province, where they rented an apartment and had run a drinks shop.
Man Sour, Sihanoukville’s chief of police, said testimony collected from witnesses in nearby bars and restaurants pointed to the involvement of a group of construction workers who gathered nearby to drink together before the killing took place.
“We haven’t yet arrested any suspects due to the large number of construction workers in the area, but our men have been trying their best to get some leads by interrogating as many of the suspects as possible,” he said.
Provincial Police Chief Tak Vantha said while many of the suspects have been identified, he couldn’t disclose any names until arrests had been made.
“We are working extremely hard on this murder case and we will soon make arrests,” he said. “I’m sorry to say I cannot tell you who they are, as it could destroy our investigation.”