A farmer was killed in Tbong Khmum province on Wednesday when a concoction of coal and gasoline exploded in his face while he was attempting to make a bomb he planned to detonate while fishing, officials said.
Huy Sambath, deputy police chief in Ponhea Krek district’s Kak commune, said Chhan Yath, 57, was killed at about 1 p.m. while grinding the materials, which Mr. Sambath believed to be charcoal, gasoline and the substance inside a battery.
“According to the villagers who were his neighbors, they said that the explosion gave a large boom and the villagers alerted the police to this explosion,” Mr. Sambath said.
The explosion sent a piece of the stone grinder into his brain, he said.
“The victim was dead already. We do not know what his purpose was with those coals…. If he was still alive we would have asked him his purpose,” he said, adding that the farmer’s wife, Hou Seu, 55, suffered minor injuries to her knee during the blast.
District police took some leftover coal for further testing in an attempt to determine why Chhan Yath was mixing the concoction, he said.
However, commune chief Tep Lon said the victim was wellknown for detonating improvised bombs in a nearby lake to catch fish, and he suspected the explosion occurred as he was smoking.
“The victim might have been smoking a cigarette while he was grinding the coal and the explosives, then the cigarette ash might have dropped on the substance so it exploded,” he said.
Mr. Lon said Chhan Yath had never been formally trained in making bombs for fishing, but that the practice was common among locals.
“Many people know how to improvise bombs for fishing,” he said.