Man, 3-Year-Old Boy Killed in Separate Illegal Fishing Accidents

A 32-year-old man died Wednesday night after a homemade bomb he planned to use for fishing exploded as he was assembling it in Kompong Cham province’s Stung Trang district, a commune official said Thursday.

Touch Sophal was packing gunpowder into a bamboo stick when the contraption exploded in O’Mlou commune Wednesday afternoon, commune chief Top Chan said.

“He used a lot of gunpowder and then put a firecracker and pounded it,” he said. “After that, it exploded because of wrong techniques in making it.”

Mr. Chan said the explosion left Touch Sophal, who was known in the commune for using illegal fishing techniques, seriously injured and he later died in the hospital.

“Both his legs were broken,” he said. “He was sent to the provincial referral hospital and then to Phnom Penh in the evening because he was bleeding badly.”

Mr. Chan said he attended Touch Sophal’s funeral Thursday, where villagers were discussing his fishing habits. “He often cheated to catch fish illegally,” he said. “He often made [bombs].”

In a separate case of illegal fishing turning deadly, a 3-year-old boy died on Tuesday in Prey Veng province’s Peamro district after being electrocuted by his neighbor’s fishing implement.

Oum Kimsan, deputy district penal police chief, said Thursday that Lot Bo, 26, was using a length of bamboo attached to a metal rod to stun fish in a river by his home.

After fishing, Mr. Dy left the device on the ground, with the metal rod still electrified. A 3-year-old boy living next door wandered over and touched the rod.

“After he got the fish, he forgot to remove the plug and when the boy walked by, he got shocked after he grabbed the metal,” he said.

Mr. Kimsan said that Mr. Dy had fled Prek Khsay Kor commune and police are looking to arrest him.

“I am preparing a document to send to the provincial court on Monday,” he said, adding that he would accuse Mr. Dy of unintentional murder and violating fishery laws.

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