A rubber plantation guard shot a 26-year-old part-time teacher dead after allegedly catching him stealing rubber resin in Kompong Cham province on June 24 evening, police and rights workers said June 26.
Three security guards protecting Tapao Rubber Plantation in Kroch Chhmar district’s Tuol Snuol commune caught Khmer language teacher Rin Bora and three other villagers stealing resin around 7 pm, said Seng Sokim, deputy provincial police chief.
Mom Mony shone his flashlight on Rin Bora and shot him with an AK-47, Seng Sokim said. “The other villagers were frightened and ran away,” Seng Sokim said, adding that Mom Mony also fled the area. Two other guards—Khem Ratha, 19, and Sam Kosal, 33—were arrested June 25 for conspiring to shoot the villager, he said.
Sim Heang, an investigator for local rights group Adhoc, said Rin Bora was a part-time Khmer teacher from a poor family. “[The suspects] should not have shot a villager dead,” he said. The plantation’s owner gave Rin Bora’s family $250 and rice for the funeral, Sim Heang added.
In April last year, two other suspected rubber thieves were killed in Kompong Cham for allegedly stealing rubber. In April 2006, a guard at Chamkar Andaung Rubber Plantation killed Phlech Nol. Afterwards an angry mob of hundreds burned down a guard barracks and the home of the chief guard. Another alleged thief, Nhor Nhe, 26, was shot dead in October.
Neither of their killers has been arrested. “Those gunmen fled the scene so we could not arrest them,” said Seng Sokim, though he added that police are still searching for the suspects.
Prum Yean, an investigator with local rights group Licadho, said most of those cases were solved with compensation being paid to the victims.
SRP Secretary-General Mu Sochua questioned why the shootings continue to happen. “Why are the guards still armed?” she said. “[The situation] has not been addressed.”
(Additional reporting by Joe Tarr)