More than 75 people beat a suspected thief to death in Dangkao district on Friday after villagers found him prowling in a house, police officials said on Tuesday.
The incident, which occurred late Friday in Sre Nhor village, Pong Toek commune, started when some homeowners awoke after they heard the alleged thief rummaging through their house, district Police Chief Chhup Sok Heng said.
He said the homeowners turned on lights in their house and called for help. The unidentified suspect, who was working with two accomplices, ran from the house and jumped over a fence, Chhup Sok Heng said. The two unidentified accomplices also fled the scene, he said.
Alarmed by the cries for help, dozens of villagers and at least 60 garment workers leaving work surrounded the suspect and beat him to death with sticks, Chhup Sok Heng said.
“We indeed intervened, but he had been beaten to death before the police arrived on the scene,” Chhup Sok Heng said.
In June, the UN human rights office issued a report stating that mobs killed or wounded 11 suspected thieves and robbers from December 2001 to May 2002—eight more than in the previous six months. The UN blamed an absence of police intervention and a lack of confidence in the judicial process for the increase.