Chinese Power Plant Worker Stabbed to Death in Preah Sihanouk

A 44-year-old Chinese national who was a manager on the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Preah Sihanouk province was brutally stabbed to death Wednesday night, police said.

Zhang Mingju—who was working on a Chinese-led project to build a 405-MW power plant in Stung Hav district—was found just before midnight at an apartment he rented, with stab wounds to his stomach from a large knife, said Khiev Vutha, police chief in Preah Sihanouk City’s Bei commune.

“I just saw that he was stabbed in the stomach and had fallen down in front of his rented room. His guts were spilling out,” he said, adding that the bloody knife was found about a meter from the victim. “He was dead when he arrived at the hospital.”

The victim’s neighbor alerted police to the murder almost immediately, said provincial police chief Tak Vantha, adding that there are as yet no suspects. Mr. Vantha said that a police investigation concluded that the assailant broke into the victim’s ground floor room by breaking open its metal roof. He added that he believed the motive to have been robbery, but was unsure if any of the victim’s possessions had been stolen.

“The victim was stabbed 11 times in the stomach,” he said. “Now, we are investigating this case.”

Mr. Vantha said the victim was a foreman for the Chinese company constructing a coal plant in Stung Hav, and leaves behind a Cambodian wife and a 3-year-old son living in Phnom Penh.

Srath Vichea, provincial autopsy police chief, said there was a chance his his body could be repatriated to China. “The corpse is being kept in the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Referral Hospital, and we are contacting the Chinese Embassy to see whether the body should be sent to China,” Mr. Vichea said.

According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, Zhang Mingju was an electrician originally from China’s eastern Jiangsu province.

Two companies are constructing coal-fired power plants in Stung Hav district, according to a document on the Council for the Development of Cambodia’s website.

The Chinese-Cambodian CIIDG Erdos Hongjun Electric Power Co. Ltd.—the company the victim is thought to have been working—has an agreement with the government to construct a plant that will produce 405-MW of power.

The case is one of a handful of cases where Chinese migrants working on the many large infrastructure projects in Cambodia have become victims of violence.

Most recently, in March a Chinese na­tional who had moved to Koh Kong’s Mondol Seima district to run a grocery store serving workers near a Chinese hydropower dam was shot dead with an AK-47. No one has been apprehended for the murder.

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