Flip-Flop Leads Police Closer to Chinese Man’s Killer

Police in Pursat province on Monday said that a single, diesel-stained flip-flop recovered from the construction site where a 34-year-old Chinese supervisor was found murdered two weeks ago could belong to his killer, who is likely a co-worker at Pheapimex Group’s cassava plantation.

Yang Liqing worked as a gasoline-supply manager for the powerful agribusiness company owned by Choeng Sopheap, the wife of CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin. His body was discovered two weeks ago in a pond on a construction site in Krakor district with a massive head wound, likely inflicted by an ax.

To Taing Eng, the provincial technical and scientific police chief who examined Yang Liqing’s body, said investigators had returned to the scene last week and discovered a flip-flop close to where the slain supervisor was found.

“After more investigating, we found one left flip-flop that…was stained with diesel and gasoline, and we concluded that it belonged to the suspect,” Mr. Eng said.

Police said earlier this month that Yang Liqing may have been killed by Chinese co-workers jealous of his position at the plantation. But when officers attempted to question the victim’s colleagues, they received little cooperation, and have since relied on undercover agents in their efforts to break open the case.

“We have concluded that the murderer is most likely an employee of the company, perhaps a gasoline-truck driver, though penal police officers are following other leads, including boyfriends of the Chinese man’s former fiancee,” Mr. Eng said.

Deputy provincial police chief Keo Sokunthea said Monday that investigators had identified a primary suspect in the case.

“We are tracking down a man in his thirties who is a driver for the company, who fell in love with Mr. Yang Liqing’s former fiancee and had a history of run-ins with the victim,” he said.

Mr. Sokunthea said Yang Liqing’s 18-year-old former fiancee broke off their engagement partly because of frustrations stemming from the language barrier between them.

Mr. Sokunthea also noted while Yang Liqing had paid $4,000 to her family to approve the marriage, her relatives had returned only $1,000 when she called off the wedding because, they told police, the couple repeatedly had premarital sex.

Meas Mul, deputy chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau, said that in addition to difficulties in dealing with Chinese staff at Pheapimex’s Pursat plantation, several other obstacles had been slowing down the investigation lately.

“We have had a very difficult time investigating this case because the crime scene is located on the private company’s land, surrounded by a forest, and it has been raining hard every day,” Mr. Mul said.

“And now, most of the workers have left for Pchum Ben, and it is possible that the real suspects are among them.”

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