A mob of around 50 to 60 people beat a motorcycle thief to death with sticks and rocks in Kompong Speu province on Friday evening after chasing him on motorbikes from neighboring Takeo province, police said on Sunday.
Khut Lo, deputy police chief in Bati district, said the mob pursued the unidentified man after he was spotted stealing a motorbike that belonged to a construction worker in Komar Reachea commune at about 6:30 p.m.
The mob beat the man to death once they caught up with him in Kong Pisei district, where he had abandoned the motorbike and set off on foot, he said.
“He stole the bike and the owner saw and shouted. People chased and beat the suspect with sticks, their bare hands and with rocks until he died,” Mr. Lo said. “When our police arrived, he was seriously beaten by people and he had already died.”
Police have yet to identify any suspects due to the large number of people involved in the attack, he added.
“We do not know who beat him. There are a lot of people and they just came to beat him and then left,” Mr. Lo said.
Suon Phon, deputy Takeo provincial police chief, said the murder was under investigation.
“We cannot find his identity and we do not know where he came from. In this case, the people had caught and killed the suspect already. It was finished,” Mr. Phon said.
“They committed a crime…by beating the suspect because we have a law against this,” he added. “This is the anger of the people, we don’t know what to say.”
Although the victim remained unidentified, Mr. Lo said police had already buried the body because it smelled bad.
The mob killing is the second to take place in Kompong Speu in less than month. On January 31, a group of about 60 men pursued a suspected motorbike thief through seven villages before bludgeoning the man to death with sticks.