A young man in Battambang province cut the throat of a 5-year-old boy with a hand saw on Monday in what a local police official described as the “cruelest crime” committed during his 18-year tenure.
The child, Kha Panha, was killed at his house in Samlot district in the early hours of the morning while his father was away in Battambang City, according to district police chief Kor Sunkang.
The father had left his farm and son in the care of 27-year-old Met Poch, who invited his friends Thai Bong, 19, and Heng Hin, 18, to drink at the family’s home on Sunday night, Mr. Sunkang said.
Sometime between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., the child’s throat was sliced open with a hand saw and he bled to death, the police chief said, citing interviews with neighbors.
“Villagers told police that…the suspect was drinking with two other people and then the boy woke up and began to cry because he didn’t see his father, which somehow annoyed them, and they might have intentionally killed him with the hand saw,” he said.
Neighbors found the boy’s body in the morning and informed local police, who arrested the older two men as they attempted to flee the area, according to Mr. Sunkang.
He said the pair then blamed the murder on Mr. Hin, the youngest, who was subsequently apprehended by provincial police officers.
Under questioning, Mr. Hin confessed to killing the child, said On Kvai, chief of the provincial force’s serious crimes bureau.
“The 18-year-old admitted that he killed the boy,” he said, adding that all three would be questioned at length Tuesday.
“Police haven’t released the other suspects yet. They will be sent to the provincial police station for further questioning because it is a big case,” he said.
“The reason that was given for why the boy was killed is not really acceptable.”
Mr. Sunkang said the murder was the most malicious he had witnessed since taking up the district police chief post 18 years ago.
“This was…the cruelest crime that has occurred in this area since I was moved to oversee this place in 1998,” he said.
The police chief said the child’s home was well known to local authorities, and had been under loose surveillance, because his mother was recently jailed on drug-trafficking charges.