The beaten corpse of a Caucasian man was found stuffed in a rolling suitcase floating in an inlet near the Vietnamese border in Kep province on Monday, police said, though few details of his identity could be established.
The decomposing body of the middle-aged man was discovered by shrimp fishermen in Damnak Chang’aur district, who had retrieved the heavily taped suitcase after noticing a head sticking out of it, according to provincial police chief Ing Sam Ol.
Mr. Sam Ol said the fishermen informed local police, who in turn called provincial police to come and inspect the body of the man, whom he estimated to be about 45 years old.
“After we checked the body, we concluded that the body is of a European national,” Mr. Sam Ol said, adding that the corpse was found dressed in shorts and a blue T-shirt.
Angkorl commune chief Mey Lin, who was called to the scene by his constituents, said the fishermen had seen the suitcase bobbing in the inlet, and that two of them went to retrieve it.
“Two people swam out to pull out the suitcase, not knowing what was inside,” Mr. Lin said. “Then, when they rolled it over, they saw the corpse’s head sticking out. After that, they pulled the suitcase onto the riverbank.”
“The man had been hit on his jaw, and the jaw was broken, and the upper head was even more badly injured. I guess that the man was attacked with an ax or a square [sided] metal rod. The rest of the body was fine. It was just the head.”
Commune police chief Soum Sophat said the man’s arm had also been injured, and that police at the scene concluded that the murder was premeditated.
“The victim was hit on the forehead, [with a wound] of about 6 cm. The left side of his jaw was broken. His left forearm was also wounded, as if he had raised his arm in defense when the perpetrator was hitting him,” Mr. Sophat said.
“Our police have concluded that the perpetrator had a premeditated plan to kill the victim for a long time, because we examined the body and the victim’s ears had plastic plugs in them to stop the fluid flowing out of the ears,” he added.
“If the perpetrator did not have the plan for a long time, they could not have used [the plugs] like this.”
Mr. Sam Ol, the provincial police chief, said the man was about 1.85 meters tall and appeared to weigh about 85 kg but had no documentation on him when found.
“He was murdered in another area and then the body was brought to throw it away there,” Mr. Sam Ol said. “The body’s legs and arms were bent to put him in the suitcase, and then he was thrown into that inlet in Angkorl commune.”
“We have concluded that the man was killed more than two days ago, because the body had a bad smell,” he added. “Now we are investigating to find the perpetrator.”
Mr. Sam Ol said he had already contacted police in nearby Preah Sihanouk and Kampot provinces, who said they were unaware of any longtime expatriates in their areas who matched the man’s physical description.
He said the body had been buried near the district police station, but said it could be removed and taken elsewhere if friends or family came to claim it.