Mob Kills Pair of Suspected Motorbike Thieves

A mob converged on two young men suspected of stealing a motorbike early Tuesday morning and beat them to death in an example of the street violence that has been roundly criticized by Cambodian leaders and UN human rights officials.

The two victims, known only as Meang and Tak, were both 20, according to police. They were chased into Russei Keo district after they attempted to steal a new-model motorbike from a driver in Tuol Kok district, police said.

Military police arrested one man connected with the robbery, Em Yaran, 18, but a second man believed to be involved escaped. A third man, Keo Phalla, 24, was arrested in Russei Keo district on charges that he planned to buy the stolen motorbike, police said.

Police Chief Ly Lay said the robbers are suspected of belonging to a theft ring that has stolen 70 motorbikes.

The violence comes during the fourth visit of UN human rights envoy Peter Leuprecht, who has criticized Cambodian officials for the proliferation of street violence and asked them to crack down on the problem of extrajudicial killings. Leuprecht is due to hold a news conference today to talk about his findings during this visit.

Foreign Minister Hor Nam­hong complained as recently as Thursday that the UN relies on outdated reports to condemn human rights in Cambodia, suggesting that conditions have greatly improved recently.

“Some reports are very old, for example about mob killing and police violence, which have ended a long, long time ago,” he said.

A general lack of confidence in the Cambodian courts to adequately punish motorbike thieves has been cited as the reason for the mob killings.

The incident on Tuesday morning was reminiscent of last year, when a wave of extrajudicial killings had political and spiritual leaders calling for an end to violent outbursts.

A general lack of confidence in the Cambodian courts to adequately punish moto thieves has been cited as the reason for the mob killings.

 

 

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