A man in Kompong Cham province was arrested on Friday for strangling a 7-year-old boy with a nylon cord and throwing his body in a canal after the victim kicked his nephew, local police said Sunday.
Huong Bunthen, 33, confessed to police that he killed the child, Kong Piseth, after the boy kicked Mr. Bunthen’s 5-year-old nephew while the two boys were playing in a forested area beside a canal, where the uncle and nephew had gone to cut firewood, according to Stung Trang district police chief Chea Thearith.
“After the nephew went back home, the suspect got a chance and committed his crime,” he said. “The suspect used a nylon string to strangle the boy and choke him and then pushed the boy down into the canal and covered him with water hyacinths.”
Mr. Thearith said Mr. Bunthen also stole a platinum necklace from Kong Piseth before throwing his body into the water, but that the robbery was not the motive for the murder.
According to the police chief, Mr. Bunthen’s nephew had complained to his family that Kong Piseth had hit him earlier in the week, stoking his uncle’s anger.
“Children are innocent. Even if they have a quarrel today, they will play with each other tomorrow. He should not have done this to a child,” Mr. Thearith said.
Mr. Bunthen was arrested on Friday afternoon after Kong Piseth failed to return home and his family became worried, according to Peam Koh Sna commune police chief Sdeoung Tong.
The boy’s mother saw Mr. Bunthen come back from the canal holding an ax and dripping with water, Mr. Tong said. The family decided to search near the canal, where they noticed that a patch of water hyacinths had been disturbed and found Kong Piseth’s body, he said, adding that police then went to question Mr. Bunthen, who admitted to the murder.
“The suspect was arrested at his home and admitted that he killed the boy because the boy hit his nephew,” he said.
Mr. Bunthen was detained at the provincial police headquarters over the weekend and will be sent to court today, provincial police chief Pen Roath said.