Battambang Gang Raids Rice Farmer’s Shack With AK-47s

Police in Battambang province are searching for three armed robbers who stormed the shack of a rice farmer, tied him and his wife up, and stole more than $900 on Wednesday night—a crime officials believe may have been committed by the same gang that carried out a similar robbery in the province earlier this month.

Phong Sopheap, police chief in Thma Koul district, said three men carried out the armed robbery on Orm Pout, 42, after receiving a tip-off from his neighbor—whom they are also searching for—that the victim had sold his harvested rice crop for 100,000 Thai baht (about $2,750) two days previously.

“The robbers knew the victim had just sold the rice to a dealer because the neighbor called three friends to tell them,” Mr. Sopheap said.

After being informed of Mr. Pout’s sale, the three men stormed into the victim’s home in Anlong Run commune brandishing AK-47s assault rifles and bound him and his wife, said deputy district police chief Heang Buntha.

“The victim’s shack is very small, and it is easy for the robbers to search for the money without having to ask the victim to hand the money to them,” the deputy police chief said, adding that the robbers made away with only $900 and a mobile phone because Mr. Pout had given the rest to a friend.

Commune police arrived on the scene around 20 minutes after the robbers fled, at which point the neighbor—who is suspected of guarding the house during the raid—escaped into nearby woods. Police are scouring the area, said Mr. Buntha, who declined to name the suspects due to ongoing investigations.

Police believe Wednesday’s armed robbery may have been carried out by the same three men who broke into a fortuneteller’s home in Bavel district with AK-47s, tied him and his wife up and made away with around $17,000 in cash on January 4, Mr. Sopheap said.

“If we arrest one of them we will know clearly whether this robbery and the robbery in Bavel are the same group or different,” he said.

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