Three fishermen have been arrested in connection with the grisly murder of a commune police chief and were interrogated yesterday at the Kampong Cham Provincial Court, police and court officials have said.
The trio was arrested on Monday and is suspected of having murdered Chan Sophal, the 48-year-old police chief of Srey Santhor district’s Svay Por commune, who was out investigating illegal fishing in nearby Mekong wetlands when he disappeared on June 21.
His remains were found on Friday morning with what appeared to be knife wounds to the forehead and temple, according to district police.
Chem Senghong, the provincial deputy police chief, said he had finished investigating the case and forwarded his findings to the provincial court yesterday, where the suspects were questioned.
Court prosecutor Huot Vuthy declined to comment in detail: “I can say nothing since the suspects were only sent to the court this morning and the court is still working on this case.”
Srey Santhor district police chief Kheng Sreng said the suspects: Hom Heurn, 43; Soy Seurn, 50; and Pho Phal, 44, are farmers and fishermen who all live in Por village in Svay Por commune.
Police seized a machete, a phone and a jacket stained with blood from Seurn’s home, but the suspects have not confessed to the murder, he said.
Authorities located the men by tracing a phone number that Sophal had received on the day he went missing.
“Soy Seurn called the victim, but we do not know what they talked about. Then the victim disappeared after he went to the wetlands,” Sreng said, adding that police believe that more suspects involved in the murder are still on the run.
Five days before he disappeared, Sophal had intercepted and seized the gear of illegal fishermen about 10 kilometresm away from the Por village, Sreng said, although the men escaped. Sophal returned to the same area, the Boueng Krachab wetlands, the day he disappeared.