A group of disgruntled construction workers allegedly hacked their Chinese employer to death with an ax on Monday evening in Phnom Penh after being fired for failing to do their jobs, police said Tuesday.
Pur Senchey district police chief Yim Saran said that the body of Kao Fi Fong, a 40-year-old Chinese national, was discovered at about 9:30 p.m. on Monday by his business partner in a rental home they were renovating in Choam Chao commune.
Mr. Saran said that four or five Cambodian construction workers had been hired to renovate the home, a townhouse on Street 111K, from which Kao Fi Fong was planning to run a business. At about 2 p.m., he got into an argument with the workers, which was reignited at 6 p.m. when he visited the site to fire them, the police chief said.
“We are not sure of the weapon that they used during the murder, but we suspect an ax was probably used,” Mr. Saran said. “We suspect the Khmer workers committed the murder because they argued with the victim and they escaped from the scene after the killing.”
When Kao Fi Fong’s business partner, Cai Weilin, failed to reach him by telephone later that night, he visited the home and found the body on the second floor.
Liang Wei Ming, whose rental home is four doors down from where the murder took place, said that Mr. Cai, also a Chinese national, came running over to him at about 9 p.m. asking for help.
“I was drinking with some friends and he rushed over,” said Mr. Liang. “He was screaming, ‘Help!, Help!’”
Mr. Liang said he entered the home and saw Kao Fi Fong’s body on the floor.
“There was blood everywhere,” he said. “It poured out of the back of his head.”
Mr. Liang said the renovations, which began about 10 days ago, seemed to be going smoothly and that he had been surprised by the businessman’s death.
“The workers would come over here and buy water,” he said, adding that he never heard any arguments. “I don’t know what happened between them and their boss.”
Mr. Liang said that after he saw the body, he immediately called a local policeman he knew.
That policeman, commune police officer Ket Yavan, told reporters outside the murder scene Tuesday that the workers suspected of killing Kao Fi Fong had already been identified, but he refused to name them.
“We have already identified the suspects and we are now searching for those people,” he said.