A mob beat a man to death Monday night in Kompong Speu province when he was reportedly discovered trying to steal a cow, police said Tuesday.
Hoeurn Tha, 30, was beaten to death while trying to escape from Ang Talak village, Sambo commune, said Samroang Tong district police chief Phat Kimhong. Four cows had disappeared from the village four days before the attack, he said.
“They were being careful because they had just lost [some of] their cows,” he said.
Hoeurn Tha was discovered entering the cow pen when the owner came outside. He shouted for villagers to arrest the suspected thief and a bell was rung to alert other villagers to help catch him, Phat Kimhong said. Villagers surrounded Hoeurn Tha to prevent his escape and killed him.
“The villagers were very angry. They could not control their anger,” said Phat Kimhong, adding that villagers don’t believe in the legal system, because they believe that police send thieves to courts only to have the court release them.
Nobody was arrested because the entire village participated in killing the suspected thief, Phat Kimhong said.“If we arrest anyone, we have to arrest everyone in the village,” he added.
Since the beginning of October there have been at least five reported mob killings in Cambodia, mostly of suspected thieves.