Husband Dies of Snake Bite; Wife Loses Job

A 30-year-old Phnom Penh woman claimed Tuesday she lost her factory job because she was taking too much time arranging the funeral of her husband, who died from a poisonous snake’s bite earlier this week.

Officials at the CamboTech factory fired Im Thy, of Kilometer 6 commune in Phnom Penh be­cause she had requested to take a full seven days for the funeral of her husband, Pao Kim Hoeun, also 30, the woman said Tuesday, speaking from the factory’s gates in Russei Keo district.

Pao Kim Hoeun, a former CPP soldier who worked as a motorcycle taxi driver and fisherman, died Sunday after a poisonous snake bit him as he waded in a pond about 10 meters from his home, family members said.

Company officials allowed Im Thy to have three days off from her job as a garment worker, but fired her Tuesday when she requested an additional “few days” off to arrange a seven-day ceremony for the dead man, Im Thy said.

“How can I survive?” Im Thy said. “How can I keep my two sons in school?”

Phone calls to company officials went unanswered Tuesday.

The snake bit Pao Kim Hoeun as he chased a fish through the murky waters. He collapsed within moments, and his 11-year-old son alerted neighbors, who called police. Although it appeared to neighbors the man had suffered a heart attack, an autopsy confirmed Pao Kim Hoeun had died from snake venom.

His body later swelled up so much from the venom, which prevented rigor mortis from setting in, that his family could not cremate the body until Monday, Im Thy said.

The delay in the cremation made the seven-day ceremony all the more important, Im Thy said.


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