A former director of Phnom Penh’s municipal department of cult and religious affairs has been charged over the brutal killing of a Kandal province money lender, a court official said Sunday.
Kandal Provincial Court on Thursday charged Nget Chan Bo, 49, with the intentional killing of Tep Vanna Roeun, 42, said court clerk Phok Mara, before declining further comment. Police arrested Nget Chan Bo on Thursday over his alleged involvement in the killing of Tep Vanna Roeun, whose body was found with ax wounds to the head and face and stuffed into a plastic bag in Takhmau town in late April, police said.
The suspect has denied any involvement in the killing, said Min Bunthean, Takhmau district deputy police chief.
Police said that Nget Chan Bo contacted Tep Vanna Roeun by telephone April 29, and that her body was found the following morning dumped on a sidewalk in Takhmau town with her hands and feet bound together with kramas.
The suspect has told police that he did call Tep Vanna Roeun to invite her for dinner that evening, but she never turned up and that he did not kill her, Min Bunthean said. Min Bunthean said the arrest followed a long investigation, but added that police had no evidence against the suspect other than telephone records showing he had contacted the victim four times April 29.
Kruoch Kunthea, head of administration at the municipal department of cults and religious affairs, said Nget Chan Bo stopped working there a year ago and declined further comment on the case.
Oeun An, Doeum Mean commune police chief and the victim’s husband, said it is up to the court to decide who killed his wife. He added that he had never encountered the suspect, and that his wife left the house April 29 to collect debts, and not to have dinner.
Kek Galabru, founder of local rights group Licadho, said the victim appeared to have been brutally tortured before being killed. Telephone records should not be enough to convict a suspect in the killing, she added. Kek Galabru also said that earlier this year, a man and woman were separately found murdered and stuffed into plastic bags in Kandal province, and that no one has been arrested over those crimes.