banlung town, Ratanakkiri province – Four ethnic minority hill tribe members were found hacked to death on Saturday in Ratanakkiri’s Traveng district, a remote jungle area near the Vietnam border, rights workers and police said Wednesday.
Police and investigators from the human rights group Adhoc investigated the scene further Wednesday. Police suspected that Pus Sin, her daughters Kan Pit, 10, Kan Souphy, 3 and son Kam Pleng, 7 were killed on April 14, the second day of Khmer New Year, in Reang Vinh village, Taveng Leur commune, said Chea Bunthoeun, deputy provincial police chief.
“They are not refugees,” Chea Bunthoeun said. “They are ethnic Prov Cambodians. The murders are not involved with politics.”
The slayings have drawn heightened interest since border security patrols were increased over the Khmer New Year to prevent Montagnard asylum seekers from entering the country after unrest in Vietnam’s Central Highlands the previous weekend.
No robberies have been reported in the area for generations, Chea Bunthoeun said.
After speaking to villagers in Reang Vinh, police concluded that robbery or revenge prompted the killings. Villagers told police that the woman once wore a gold necklace to Taveng district town, about 6 km from her home.At the time of the killings, Pus Sin’s husband and three other sons were in the forest searching for fruit.
One bloody machete was left near the bodies, which were found on a path linking a plantation to the village, police said. The four victims had wounds on their heads, necks and backs.
“There are at least three people involved with murder,” said Chea Bunthoeun. “The victims knew the suspects very well. That’s why the suspects killed all of them.”
Police hope to make arrests soon, he added. Adhoc is still investigating the case and has not offered a motive for the killings.