Banteay Meanchey Man Killed Over a Small Parcel of Land

Police in Banteay Meanchey province are searching for a 23-year-old man who allegedly killed an O’Chrou district farmer on Sunday in a dispute over 10 square meters of land, authorities said yesterday.

Chhoeurng Chout, a farmer from Serei Saophoan city’s M’kak commune, allegedly killed Smet Chaot, 60, with two blows to the face and neck using the victim’s own hoe, said Sor Chhong, O’Chrou district police chief.

According to Mr Chhong, the suspect hired two men to plow a 2-hectare rice field he owned in O’Chrou district, but the men—Vey Soroeun, 27, and Un Chamroeun, 28—went on to plow an additional 10 square meters inside the victim’s property.

Upon arriving at his field and seeing part of his land plowed, the police chief added, Mr Chaot asked the tractor operators who had hired them and requested that they fetch Mr Chout for a meeting to discuss the issue.

According to the police chief, the two farmers met from 9:30 am to 11:00 am, during which time Mr Chaot was murdered. Mr Chhong said that after the killing Mr Chout informed the two laborers that the victim was dead. Police arrived on the scene by noon, where they found the victim and his hoe.

“It could be a hoe belonging to the victim that was used in the killing,” Mr Chhong said.

Provincial police chief Hun Hean said his men were searching for the suspect.

“Although the suspect has es­caped, we know his identity,” he said. “The police authorities are taking action to arrest him.”

“The suspect was immoral and he was wrong, but he was not responsible for [the plowing],” he added.

The provincial police chief said Mr Soroeun and Mr Chamroeun would be called to testify in the victim’s murder and would also be held responsible for plowing his land, but declined to elaborate.

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