Four Arrested for Poisoning Death of Neighbor

Four people who allegedly beat their neighbor with wooden clubs and forced him to drink pesticide over a land boundary dispute in Tbong Khmum province have been arrested, police said Tuesday.

Peng Eng Hak, Memot district police chief, said the 31-year-old victim, Chea Sophon, died in a hospital in Vietnam on Monday night as a result of the attack.

The suspects are all from a single family. Doem Priem, 27, his 34-year-old wife Soeun Nan, her younger brother Soeun Mean, 23, and her 55-year-old father, Pachong Soeun were arrested Sunday on their rubber plantation.

It is alleged that the family members attacked Chea Sophon after he had an argument with Ms. Nan earlier that day.

“After that, the woman called her husband, younger brother and father. Together, they beat his whole body with wooden clubs until he was seriously injured,” Mr. Eng Hak said.

“After that, they tied his hands and feet with ropes to a small shelter in the rubber plantation. Afterwards, they forced him to drink pesticide in an attempt to kill him.”

Beng Rithy, Choam Kravien commune police chief, said the dispute began more than a year ago when the victim planted cassava along the boundary of the two properties.

After the attack, he was found by other villagers and was subsequently taken to the district referral hospital, Mr. Rithy added.

“After local police received reports from the villagers, the local police went to the scene of the crime and saw the victim vomiting,” he said.

“This led them to believe that the victim was poisoned by pesticide. Near the scene of the crime, police also found bloody wooden clubs and empty bottles of pesticide. The victim received heavy injuries on his head, and he was bruised all over his body.”

Mr. Eng Hak said despite being taken to Vietnam for treatment, the victim died from what doctors believed was poisoning from having ingested pesticide.

“After they were arrested and questioned at the district police station, all of the suspects admitted that they really seriously injured the victim and that they tied his hands and feet with ropes,” Mr. Eng Hak said. However, they denied poisoning the victim.

Kompong Cham provincial prosecutor Huot Vuthy said the suspects would appear in court today to face charges.

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