The Preah Vihear Provincial Court on Saturday charged seven people—two in absentia—for the shooting death of a local man, whom the attackers allegedly killed after mistaking him for their intended target, the elder brother of the men who had hired them.
Deputy provincial military police chief Chu Bunsong said Ki Kin, 29, was shot dead by the group of five assassins hired by the two brothers at about 9:30 p.m. on February 13 while walking past the house of their intended mark, Khim Nin.
“The victim was coming back from drinking palm wine at his neighbor’s house when the suspects shot him multiple times until he was dead,” Mr. Bunsong said.
Khat Hun, head of the provincial police’s minor crimes bureau, said yesterday that the two brothers who allegedly planned the botched attack, Khim Mang, 24, and Khim Touch, 23, were charged with instigating a premeditated murder.
He said the man they originally hired for the job and who allegedly shot Ki Kin, Um Khop, 35, was charged with premeditated murder, along with Khut Diep, 41 and Ly Him, 44. Phoeu Phan and Ly Hiep, who remain at large, were similarly charged in absentia.
“The court charged them all yesterday. Investigating Judge Chin Sros sent them to provincial prison for pretrial detention,” Mr. Hun said.
Deputy provincial police chief Keo Chamroeun said the dispute between the three brothers began soon after their mother died about two years ago.
“The [younger] brothers made a plan to kill their brother because they accused him of using black magic to kill their mother, and they were angry at Khim Nin because he didn’t share the inheritance, including the house and a plot of land,” he said.
To do the deed, Mr. Chamroeun said, the pair paid $3,000 to Mr. Khop, who then recruited Mr. Hiep, who owned an AK-47 assault rifle, and Mr. Him, who had a motorbike. Mr. Diep and Mr. Phan were added to the crew along the way.
On the night of the murder, he said, “the brothers told the killers that Mr. Khim Nin was wearing a red krama and that he would be heading home at 9 [p.m.].”
But unbeknownst to the assassins, Mr. Chamrouen said, Mr. Nin had retired inside his home at 7 p.m., well before they arrived.
“So after 9 p.m. the victim, Ki Kin, who was wearing a similar red krama, walked by there and was shot,” he said. “They did not intend to kill the victim, but they were confused.”
He said police arrested the brothers on Wednesday and the other three suspects the day after, and that all have confessed to taking part in the murder.
Court officials could not be reached for comment.