Police Track Suspected Armed Gang That Scalped Cafe Owner

Police last night surrounded a house in Phnom Penh where members of an armed gang were thought to be holed up after scalping a man with a samurai-style sword earlier in the day, officials said.

Theng Kosal, chief of police in Pur Senchey district’s Choam Chao commune, said a gang of about 10 men stormed the Honey Milk coffee shop at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, brandishing swords as they hurried toward four men sitting at a table inside.

The foursome immediately fled the building on foot, and when the owner of the cafe, Uo Sokheng, attempted to restrain one of the attackers, another member of the gang turned on him, Mr. Kosal said.

“When they arrived, they were yelling and all the customers ran away; only the coffee shop owner came to intervene to tell them to stop,” he said.

“The coffee shop owner came to hold one man to say something [to him], but one of the others got angry, claiming they can seek out any enemy they want, and then one used a weapon to chop his head,” he added.

After severing a piece of Mr. Sokheng’s scalp—leaving him lying in a pool of blood alongside the flap of hair-covered flesh—the gang left the shop, using their sword to smash up three motorbikes abandoned by their initial targets before speeding away on their own vehicles, Mr. Kosal said.

Contacted late last night, Chea Sovann, chief of the district police’s penal office, said he and a dozen other officials were posted outside a house where the suspects were believed to be hiding.

“This case is involved with revenge between the suspects and the coffee shop customers,” Mr. Sovann said.

“We have not arrested anyone yet. Right now, we are surrounding the house where some of the suspects are inside. I cannot talk with you now,” he said.

As of on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Sokheng was recovering from his injury at a private clinic, according to Mr. Kosal.


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