Man Beaten to Death After Murdering Wife, Stepdaughter

A 43-year-old man was on Tuesday beaten to death by a violent mob of 200 angry villagers in Kompong Cham province after he murdered his wife and stepdaughter, then mutilated their bodies and attempted to decapitate them, officials said.

At about 11 a.m. Tuesday, Lang Pises, a farmer with a history of mental illness, savagely murdered his wife, Seng Thou, 43, and his 20-year-old stepdaughter, Muon Chinda, inside his wooden stilt house in Prey Chhor district’s Thma Poun commune, said Kite Vithou, commune police chief.

“The man had almost cut off both his wife’s and his stepdaughter’s heads. His wife died lying face down with many gashes on her body…. His stepdaughter also had many gashes,” Mr. Vithou said.

“The villagers were very angry with the man, so they beat him to death,” he said, adding that about 200 local residents participated in the public execution.

San Sophea, chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bu­reau, said that when police heard Lang Pises had attacked his wife and stepdaughter, they ordered him to come out of his house.

“The man did not come, but cut off his wife’s hands and tossed them down the stairs,” Mr. Sophea said, at which point incensed villagers nearby dragged him from his house and beat him to death with wooden clubs and sharp rocks in full view of the police.

Villagers alleged that Lang Pises had been raping his stepdaughter when his wife returned home from the pagoda, prompting the man to murder them both, Mr. Sophea added.

“The man may have argued with the girl or raped her, and when the mother came back from the pagoda, the killing began,” he said.

Commune chief Ngin Navy said that while there were police present during the beating, they had been unable to act.

“They [police] could not stop the villagers from throwing stones at him because there were so many of them,” Mr. Navy said. “Practically the entire commune came to watch.”

A video of the public execution posted to a local news website shows a police officer armed with an AK-47 assault rifle watching the beating in silence.

Mr. Navy said evidence suggested that the murder of Seng Thou and Muon Chinda was premeditated, because police found six newly sharpened machetes and two axes inside Lang Pises’ house.

“He was a normal person, like the other villagers, but according to his relatives, he always fought with his wife when his stepdaughter stayed with them…. Relatives said he had told his wife not to talk to her family,” he said, adding that Lang Pises and Seng Thou had been married for 10 years.

Chuon Chamrong, head of Adhoc’s women’s program, said Tuesday that violent crimes committed by men against their wives and children often occur when routine domestic abuse goes unreported, and ultimately intensifies.

“It [domestic abuse] is very urgent issue. If we delay even an hour sometimes, the cases become very serious and the killings happen,” Ms. Chamrong said.

“Sometimes when the victims are the women, they want to complain to the court, but they worry about their husbands going to jail” and being unable to support the family, Ms. Chamrong said.

CNRP lawmaker and former Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua said that while the worst examples of domestic abuse oc­cur for a variety of reasons, dated gender roles factor heavily.

Ms. Sochua said Cambodian men often use “the justification that ‘I am in control…therefore I can do whatever I want.’”

In May, a 34-year-old man from Kompong Cham doused his wife with petrol and set her on fire, causing serious injuries to her chest and legs, because he was angry that she had served dinner to their children before she served him.

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