Police in Preah Sihanouk City said yesterday that they have identified six suspects in the recent murder of an Australian man.
Police found the body of John Edward Thompson, 47, near a construction site off a small road in Village 1 on the morning of Dec 28. The body appeared to have been beaten with sticks.
“We hope to arrest the attackers in the coming days because we have found their identity,” said police chief Men Tour, who would only identify the six suspects as construction workers.
“We hope to arrest them soon because the suspects are still working inside our province as normal, but the problem is that it is hard to find them because there are thousands of the workers at the tourist sites, and they are from across the country so their backgrounds are not known.”
Mr Tour said police believe the assailants attacked Mr Thompson to rob him and also suspect that they are not locals.
“If the suspects used to live in Preah Sihanouk province for a long time, they would know that the foreigners do not have much money to be taken,” he said.
According to Preah Sihanouk provincial police, Mr Thompson was homeless when he died and living in a Buddhist pagoda.
Provincial Governor Sbong Sarath expressed regret at the victim’s death and admitted that police could do more to guard foreigners.
“We are sorry about the foreigner’s death. We don’t wish this accident to occur in our location but our foreigners feel too safe,” he said. “Our policemen patrol and guard for the safety of our visitors, especially foreigners, but we can’t 100 percent ensure their security, especially late at night.”
Mr Sarath said the criminals take advantage of the gaps in police patrols that result from shift changes and added that authorities could do a better job of eliminating those gaps.
“I have ordered to ensure the security for our visitors in every location throughout the province, because our province is a tourist site,” he said.