Four men will be charged Saturday over taking part in a brutal mob killing of a mentally ill man who was beaten and burned to death in Kompong Speu province, police officials said Friday.
Trapaing Kong commune police chief Yim Vorn said that about 50 villagers in his commune set upon Tuon Puttrea, 28, who they suspected of being a thief.
“The villagers accused the victim of trying to steal a cow and a motorbike…as the villagers attacked the victim he became seriously injured and about 10 authorities tried to prevent the villagers,” he said.
Mr. Vorn said the mob then turned on the police officers who attempted to intervene.
“Those villagers are crazy; even though we are police they still wanted to kill him,” he said.
Mr. Vorn said the mob then dragged the injured man 150 meters into a field, tied him to a palm tree and set him alight.
He added that three suspects named Kang San, 30; Oeun Sat, 26; and Pheun Pheun, 28, were arrested in Samraong Tong district at about 8 a.m. on Thursday morning.
Provincial military police chief Chan Dy said his officials arrested another suspect, 30-year-old Eam Sahon, later that morning.
Tuon Chhay, the victim’s older brother, said that Tuon Puttrea had gone missing from his home in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district about two weeks ago and had recently stopped taking medication for his mental health condition.
“We lost him about two weeks ago and then we found that he died in Kompong Speu…before we lost him he hadn’t been taking his medicine,” Mr. Chhay said.
“Those villagers and the suspects that have been arrested are really cruel. Even if he’d done something bad they could have sent him to the police, they didn’t have to kill him…it’s an injustice for my brother.”
All four suspects will be sent to the provincial court Saturday morning to be charged, said Mr. Dy and Sam Sak, deputy provincial penal police chief, who added that officials were still searching for the other members of the mob.
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