One Dead, 4 Injured in Brawl at Pursat Pagoda

A young man was killed and four others injured in a brawl at a pagoda in Pursat province on Thursday night, local police said.

The fight between two groups of men broke out during a dance party to mark the ongoing Pchum Ben festival at the pagoda in Phnom Kravanh district’s Sam­raong commune, according to district police chief Vong Savath. 

“At the time, they were playing rock music and it might be that they stepped on each other’s feet, so violence broke out,” he said, adding that nine men were involved altogether.

Mr. Savath said that Yem Reak­smey, 20, was stabbed in the neck and died upon arrival at a local hospital, while four of his friends were also injured.

“We do not know what weapons they used for fighting,” he said. “Some of them might have been using their hands, or stabbing each other.”

Mr. Savath said a police officer and a commune security guard had been at the pagoda when the fight started at around 8:30 p.m., but were unable to intervene due to the large number of people involved.

“They could not control the fighting because [the suspects] were running all over the place…and there were too many young people,” he said, adding that he believed there was bad blood between the two sides.

Commune police chief Sam Ran said investigators had identified three suspects, and were searching for them. He declined to name the suspects, but said they had been heavily armed for a dance party.

“They used wooden sticks, slingshots and knives to attack the group of victims,” Mr. Ran said, going on to detail the injuries sustained by Yem Reaksmey and his friends.

“[Yem Reaksmey] was stabbed in the throat from behind with a short knife and his neck filled with blood, while one was hit in the nose by a slingshot, one stabbed in the back, one stabbed in the shoulder and another in the head.”

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