Three generations of women within one family were brutally murdered in their home in Siem Reap City early yesterday morning, police said, adding that the youngest victim was raped prior to her death.
The incident marked the second multiple murder in Cambodia in less than 48 hours, after a man in Ratanakkiri province went on a rampage Saturday night and Sunday morning, killing his 61-year-old brother-in-law and three unrelated children.
Mok Sam Oun, deputy Siem Reap City police chief, said yesterday that police believed the three women were killed at about 3 am yesterday, when an unknown number of attackers entered their house in Sala Kamroeuk commune’s Wat Svay village.
Mr Sam Oun said the attackers used a meat cleaver to slit the throats of an 80-year-old woman and her 57-year-old daughter, before raping and killing the 19-year-old granddaughter who helped her family run a grocery store from their house.
“We believed that the young lady was raped and then [they] cut her throat,” Mr Sam Oun said. “They all were killed by a single meat cleaver. The young lady may have come out of her room and fought with the attackers.”
After the attack, the assailants stole money and other items from the house before fleeing, Mr Sam Oun added.
Police were alerted to the crime scene at about 6 am yesterday when a man who regularly sold ice to the family saw that the victims’ front door was open.
Ou Em, deputy provincial police chief, said authorities believed that two men were probably involved in the triple murder and rape.
“I think this case was very cruel because a whole family had their throats sliced to death,” Mr Em said, adding that he believed the attackers might be drug addicts.
“Now we are investigating the case seriously,” he said.
Mao Yin, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said she was shocked by the brutality of the triple murder, adding that she too believed that the suspects were drug addicts.
“This is the most cruel case I have ever seen,” Ms Yin said. “I believe that the suspects are drug addicts because a whole family was killed.”
Meanwhile, deputy Ratanakkiri provincial police chief Yun Saroeun said yesterday that community members in O’Chum district’s Ekpheap commune were still reeling in the aftermath of the four murders committed by 32-year-old Heng Kry over the weekend.
Kry was shot dead by police early Sunday morning after using a machete to kill his brother-in-law on Saturday night and three young children from a separate village on Sunday morning.
Mr Saroeun said police had not been able to identify any motive as to why Kry had committed the murders, other than their belief that he was a mentally ill man who went mad.
“The killer could not control his feeling and he became outrageous,” Mr Saroeun said.
SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said the two incidents highlighted how violence was firmly ingrained in Cambodian culture, especially through the popularization of violent local TV shows.
“Here in Cambodia, violence is reinforced in front of people’s eyes 24 hours a day on TV, and then you have a rule-of-law where you can get away with murder,” she said.
“When someone who wants to kill someone knows they can get away with murder, what is going to stop them?”
(Additional reporting by Mark Worley)