Man Arrested For Murder Escapes Custody

A 31-year-old man who was arrested Monday for allegedly murdering an elderly woman escaped from his holding cell at the Kompong Speu provincial police headquarters on Wednesday along with another detainee by smashing a window, police said.

Svay Yoeun, deputy chief of the provincial police’s central judicial department, confirmed that Poy Chanrith, suspected of murdering Tuot Nhit, 71, over a small plot of land, had escaped with the help of a man who had been arrested for stealing livestock.

“That guy along with the cow thief broke the cell and fled early this morning,” Mr. Yoeun said. “We are searching to rearrest them and bring them back.”

“The provincial police chief called the police officers who were guarding and told them to be vigilant. I don’t know what is wrong with them but they are careless because they let the suspects escape,” Mr. Yoeun said. He added that most of the officers were out of the office monitoring Water Festival celebrations.

Provincial police chief Keo Pisey declined to comment on the escape.

“Whether it’s true or not, you don’t need to know,” he said.

A provincial penal police officer who declined to be named because he did not have permission to speak with the media said the suspects had waited for the two guards on duty to fall asleep before making their escape.

“When there was a lack of security, the suspects used a broom to grab a steel bar that was outside the door then used it to break the window from inside to escape,” he said, explaining that the suspects had tied a spoon to the end of the broom in order to help grab the bar.

He said the sleeping guards realized the men were gone when they awoke at about 5 a.m.

“We had guards on duty but they were asleep. We are so sorry, this is due to our carelessness,” he said, adding that police would ask the provincial court to issue arrest warrants for both men.

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