Yim Symony, chief of police in Prampi Makara district where last Friday’s mob murder occurred, said Thursday that police are finding it difficult to identify the people who took part in the mob beating and probable burning to death of alleged motorcycle thief Song Veasna.
However, Thursday’s publication of photographs in Khmer-language Koh Santepheap newspaper (Island of Peace) showing chronologically the frenzy of violence as Song Veasna is taken from the police and then killed has helped police identify some of the dozens of suspects.
“We are still investigating both the people who killed Song Veasna and two other men who are accomplices in motorcycle robberies,” Yim Symony said.
However, there have been no armed robberies in Phnom Penh since last Friday night’s killing of two suspected motorcycle robbers, Yim Symony noted. Song Veasna’s accomplice was fatally shot while allegedly trying to escape from police shortly after the beating and burning occurred.
“After the two robbers were killed on July 21, until now July 27, there have been no more robberies with guns,” Yim Symony said.
The deaths are the kind of inhumane street-justice that has “become too common and too banal in Cambodia,” opposition party leader Sam Rainsy said in a press release Thursday.
Numerous similar deaths of suspected thieves have occurred in recent months. Several Cambodian leaders, including the King, have pleaded with the people to stop extrajudicial killings.
Sam Rainsy said thieves that are caught should be prosecuted according to the law, and that citizens shouldn’t replace themselves for the criminal justice system, even if some criminals manage to escape punishment with bribes.
“I appeal to all Cambodians to exert self-control and self-restraint, and avoid killing or wounding any other people,” Sam Rainsy wrote.
“We must strive to use all legal, non-violent and peaceful means to reorganize and improve our society by promoting morality and humanity.”