A man staying with his brother at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh stabbed two people in the gastroenterology ward on Friday afternoon before fleeing the building, police and witnesses said Sunday.
According to Phorn Oun, chief of police in Chamkar Mon district’s Tumnop Toek commune, 35-year-old Rocham Yom had been in his brother’s room at the hospital at about 12:30 p.m., when he suddenly grabbed a kitchen knife from his bag and stabbed a man recovering from a traffic accident and a young woman, leaving both with serious injuries.
Mr. Oun said Mr. Yom—who is ethnic Jarai and lives in Ratanakkiri province—remains at large.
“We don’t know what made the suspect do this, and police are working on this,” he said.
“The woman was sent to Calmette Hospital the same day because she was seriously injured [near] her heart,” he said.
Suong Chansreyrath, the male victim’s niece, said her uncle, Mom Ratanak, 50, was stabbed at least five times while recovering in a bed in the same room as Mr. Yom’s brother.
“He was ready to leave the hospital on Friday, but it turned out like this. I was very shocked,” Ms. Chansreyrath said, adding that her uncle was now recovering from wounds to his neck, chest, cheek, thigh and arm.
Chom Sambou, 47, who was visiting her nephew in the hospital and also witnessed the attack, said the young woman was stabbed in the hallway.
“She was stabbed with a knife in her chest while she was sleeping on a bench and she ran into the room for help with blood coming out all over her body,” Ms. Sambou said.
The suspect’s brother, Rocham Toeng, 32, who had been getting an ultrasound for a serious bout of constipation at the time of the attack, said he was horrified when he learned what his sibling had done.
Mr. Toeng said his older brother had begun acting strangely when the two arrived at the hospital from Ratanakkiri on Wednesday, refusing to eat and worrying that he would soon be arrested.
“My brother talked…in an erratic way,” he said.