Ax-Wielding Farmer Kills Foe Over Childhood Buffalo Blunder

A 32-year-old farmer was hacked to death with an ax outside a wedding party in Prey Veng province on Sunday night in what police believe was a revenge attack by a 20-year-old farmer harboring a grudge since childhood over the killing of his family’s buffalo calf a decade ago, police said.

The victim, Khorn Sopha, had just left a wedding party in Kanh Chriech district’s Thma Poun commune at about 8:20 p.m. on Sunday when Khien Vichaka emerged from a hiding place and swung an ax into the side of his head, then into his neck with a second swing, said Colonel Chhuon Kimsann, deputy commander of the provincial military police.

“Khorn Sopha was chopped twice with an ax on his right ear and on his neck, and died on the way to Kompong Cham provincial hospital. The 20-year-old killer ran away, but we found his abandoned motorbike in the parking area,” Col. Kimsann said.

He added that loud music at the wedding party drowned out the attack and left bystanders initially unaware of what had happened, until the badly injured victim stumbled across the parking area gushing blood from his wounds, then collapsed onto the ground about 20 meters from where he had been attacked.

In an attempt to save his life, wedding guests propped the victim onto a motorbike and rushed him to the provincial hospital but he died before they arrived, said district police chief Chan Rith.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in Thma Poun commune,” he said, adding that there had been bad blood between the young suspect’s family and the farmer ever since he had failed to compensate them for accidentally killing their young buffalo calf 10 years ago.

“The suspect only decided to murder the victim on Sunday night and while he was drunk on wine, hacked him to death with an ax,” Mr. Rith said.

“Now the killer is at large and has most likely fled the district. But this is a murder case, so the killer won’t escape our police nets.”

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