Ax Attack Suspect Handed Heavy Charges

The suspect arrested for the brutal Sihanoukville ax attack last month that left a mother and child dead and five others badly injured was charged on Saturday with premeditated murder.

Luy Sopheak was arrested on Thursday in Kandal province for the December 29 attack.

A day later, police released a video showing the suspect confessing that he had attacked 31-year-old Oum Phana, her elderly mother, and her five children, ranging in age from 1 to 13 years old, in retaliation for her public accusation that he had stolen a chicken.

Oum Phana and her 13-year-old daughter both died in the attack. Deputy Preah Sihanouk police chief Kol Phally said Mr. Sopheak was charged by Investigating Judge Kim Eng on Saturday morning and sent to the provincial prison to await trial.

“The court charged him with premeditated murder and subsequent felonies,” he said, explaining that “subsequent felonies” is an extra charge that can be laid upon released felons who go on to commit additional serious crimes.

Provincial police chief Chuon Narin said the suspect spent five years in prison related to a 2006 robbery case.

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