Murder Suspect Found Hiding Out in Pagoda

A suspect in a 5-year-old homicide was arrested in Kratie prov­ince earlier this month after police got a tip that he had be­come a monk and was hiding in a local monastery, police said Tuesday.

Chiek Buntheng, 30, was arrested July 8 at a pagoda in Chhlong village, about 30 km southwest of Kratie town. He was wanted for the 1995 armed robbery and fatal shooting of a motorcyclist.

One of five suspects in the shooting, Chiek Buntheng had been living at the pagoda since the incident, Kratie Criminal Police Chief Yorn Din said.

“As I hear, some [suspects] joined the monkhood to shape up and hide themselves,” he said.

“But their guilt can’t be forgiven by the law, even if they are hiding at a respected Buddhist institution.”

The other suspects are still at large.

In an unrelated incident, Kratie provincial police on July 14 arrested a man in connection with the 1998 killing of four Vietnamese fishermen in Prek Prasop district on the Mekong River.

The killing, which occurred during the turbulent days leading up to the July general elections, was first characterized by police as an act of terrorism.

But in a recent confession to police, suspect Meach Cham­roeun, 30, maintained that the motive for the killing was robbery, Kratie Deputy Police Chief Pol Khemara said Tuesday.

Police are still seeking suspects in connection with the brutal killing of three people accused by villagers of sorcery, Kratie Police Chief So Neak said Tuesday.

In May, 49-year-old farmer Maleh Chran, his wife, Kes Neuy, 52,  and their son, 29-year-old Chran Nan, were found shot and stabbed to death in Sre Norn village, Snuol district.

Police identified two soldiers living in the village as suspects in the killings. The men have since fled, So Neak said.

So Neak vowed to find the killers and cited the arrests of Meach Chamroeun and Chiek Buntheng as evidence of his ability to carry out his promise.

“We will keep investigating until there is an arrest, even if it will last a long time,” he said.


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