Kandal provincial police have said they have no clues as to the motive behind a triple murder in Takhmao town during the final day of the Pchum Ben festival, bringing to four the number of multiple homicides nationwide in as many months.
Chan Savoeun, deputy provincial police chief, said an inquiry was launched after three women were found shot dead on Saturday morning in a café adjoining a home.
“We haven’t yet concluded any reasons for the killing, which was apparently not a jewellery robbery as we have not lost any jewellery,” he said.
He said police had discovered the bodies – which appeared to have each been shot several times before being dragged into a bedroom and laid on a bed together – after a neighbour reported hearing gunfire about 3.30am on Saturday.
“It was a very brutal and ‘modern’ killing,” he said.
The victims were 47-year-old Sok Ky; her daughter, 24-year-old Seng Muoy Kea; and a 17-year-old waitress who Chan Savoeun declined to name.
Chan Savoeun said the Bopha Kampoul Phnom Restaurant and Coffee Shop, where the murders took place, was owned by Sok Ky’s younger sister, and that police were now investigating any “internal issues” that might have led to the killings.
Police suspect more than one gunman was involved.
Contrary to Chan Savoeun’s assessment, Takhmao district police apparently believe robbery was the cause of the killings.
Chhuon Makara, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said that district police had told him the case did involve a robbery.
“We will not launch any investigations about these killings after being told by Takhmao deputy district police chief Min Bunchean, who is in charge of penal crimes and is leading this investigation, that it was related to robbery,” he said.
Min Bunchean declined to comment, saying he was “too busy to speak with a reporter”.
In August, 35-year-old Kouch Samnang allegedly murdered five family members and injured three others before taking his own life in Svay Rieng province.
According to police, the violence began when Kouch Samnang was prevented from raping Srey Mab,
his 16-year-old sister-in-law whom he had allegedly sexually assaulted twice before.
In July, 50-year-old Sles Yeb, a soldier with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Battalion 203, allegedly opened fire on residents of Kroch Chhmar district in Kampong Cham province, killing three people and injuring four.
Later the same month, Phnom Penh police brought preliminary premeditated murder charges against a police officer accused of killing two people and injuring three others with an AK-47 in Sen Sok district.