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Two Japanese held over Siem Reap murder of taxi driver

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Two Japanese men have been charged by police on suspicion of stabbing a taxi driver to death and stealing his car in Siem Reap province’s Puok district. Photo supplied

Two Japanese held over Siem Reap murder of taxi driver

Two 24-year-old Japanese men have been charged by police on suspicion of stabbing a taxi driver to death and stealing his car on Sunday evening in Siem Reap province’s Puok district. The victim was a 40-year-old Kampong Thom man.

Duong Sokha, Siem Reap province serious crime bureau chief, said the suspects were held at Siem Reap provincial police headquarters, where they admitted to owing a Japanese bank around 4,000,000-5,000,000 yen ($36,000-$45,000).

“They committed the crime to get money from the car to pay the bank,” Sokha said.

Sokha said the police had charged the suspects with premeditated murder and were preparing to send the suspects to court on Tuesday.

The suspects had earlier hired another taxi to steal but did not find the opportunity, Puok district police chief Tep Pomsen said.

Japan’s Kyodo News reported that the two men took the first taxi to neighbouring Beanchey Meanchey province to steal the car but it was fitted with a camera, putting them off.

They then hired another taxi to return to Siem Reap, allegedly stabbing the driver to death and dumping his body by the road before taking the vehicle. Witnesses to the incident informed police, Pomsen said.

Driving away, the suspects collided with a rice tractor before crashing into a vendor’s stall. With the car immobilised, the suspects fled on foot for around 2km before being arrested. They were sent to Siem Reap provincial police headquarters.

The two men entered Cambodia from Thailand on Saturday through the Poipet border checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province, staying in Siem Reap with the intention to commit robbery.

The suspects were said to have brought two knives from Japan with which to commit crime, Pomsen added.