Dangkao Mob Beats Suspected Thief to Death

A mob of Phnom Penh villagers snatched a 22-year-old man from police custody and killed him after the man allegedly robbed a motorcycle taxi driver on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, police said Monday.

The incident occurred around noon in Dangkao district’s Sam­raong Krom commune, when a mob of more than 100 villagers beat Chim Ratana to death as officers watched, district Police Chief Mon Saveth said.

The villagers had chased Chim Ratana and another unidentified man into thick forest 200 meters from a road where he and the other man had allegedly attacked Dong Pak Heng, 41, of Mean­chey district, Mon Saveth said.

The two men had hailed Dong Pak Heng from the Pacific Kiss Hotel near Phsar Thmei and asked for a lift to Samraong Krom commune, Mon Saveth said.

When they arrived there, they struck Dong Pak Heng on the head and tossed him from his motorcycle. The two men were trying to flee on the motorcycle when Dong Pak Heng shouted for help. Police and villagers came running and tracked Chim Ratana down, Mon Saveth said.

The five district police officers had asked Chim Ratana only a few questions when the villagers erupted into violence, Mon Saveth said.

They hit the man with stones, axes and sticks, kicking and beating him until he died, Mon Saveth said.

Police tried to shield Chim Ratana, but were beaten back and were powerless to stop the attack, Mon Saveth claimed.

“We couldn’t stop the villagers after we arrested the [man] be­cause our police were only five among 100,” the chief said.

The slaying marks the first reported mob lynching in Phnom Penh this year and the first in Dangkao district in two years, Mon Saveth said. Extrajudicial killings have plagued Cambodia in recent years, in large part because of a lack of faith in the country’s legal system.


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