A 47-year-old man was arrested in Kampot province on Wednesday night for murdering his cousin with an ax the previous day after the two men had a dispute over a fence.
Kong Sokhorn, chief of the provincial police’s penal bureau, said Phim Phon, 47, was apprehended at his home in Kompong Trach district’s Russei Srok Khang Koeut comune on suspicion of killing his cousin, Phim Khon, 57, with the help of three friends.
Mr. Phon is also accused of tying up and beating his cousin’s adult daughter during the attack at the home the victims shared in neighboring Kompong Trach Khang Lech commune.
“This is revenge, because the suspect and [Phim Khon] had a dispute two weeks before the murder,” Mr. Sokhorn said, explaining that the men had argued over Phim Khon’s attempt to build a fence along a footpath that both laid claim to.
“The suspect tried to kill the victim with an ax twice while the victim was building the fence, but failed because both families intervened,” he said.
Phim Khon’s 34-year-old daughter, Huy Tho, remains in the hospital with serious head wound she sustained when she was tied to a bed and struck repeatedly with a sharp object and a blunt one, he added.
When provincial police went to the suspect’s home to investigate the murder on Wednesday, they found blood underneath his fingernails and noticed that he had minor injuries, Mr. Sokhorn said.
“He confessed to killing his cousin because of a land dispute,” he said, explaining that Mr. Phon also told police that he had asked three friends to travel from Sihanoukville to help him carry out the murder.
He said Kampot provincial police were now cooperating with police in the coastal city to search for the accomplices.
Yung Samoeun, chief of Russei Srok Khang Koeut commune, said he did not know that the cousins had still been arguing over the fence and footpath.
“I negotiated with the cousins so they wouldn’t have a problem with each other regarding the path,” he said. “The victim promised not to build the fence…but later he built it.”