Police Arrest Man for Fatally Stabbing Friend

Police in Pursat province arrested a 29-year-old man for allegedly stabbing his friend to death Tuesday, but offered differing accounts Wednesday of the events leading up to the crime.

Heng Vannak, 29, was arrested in Krakor district’s Chhoeu Tom commune while attempting to flee to Phnom Penh after allegedly murdering his friend Pen Odom, also 29, on Tuesday evening, according to district police chief Em Run.

“We used about 20 officers, including commune police and security guards, to arrest him while he was trying to flee to Phnom Penh,” Mr. Run said.

On Tuesday, the suspect and victim were driving on separate motorbikes to meet a group of friends for drinks when Pen Odom jokingly pretended to rear-end Mr. Vannak’s motorbike with his own, Mr. Run said.

In response, Mr. Run said, “Mr. Vannak went back home and brought back a knife,” then drove back to the shop where Pen Odom had begun drinking.

“He called Mr. Odom out [of the building] and then he stabbed him in the stomach,” Mr. Run said.

He said the victim died of his wounds on the way to the provincial hospital, and that Mr. Vannak was in custody at the district police station awaiting transfer to provincial police headquarters. From there he will be sent to court for questioning, Mr. Run said.

According to Mr. Run, the suspect and victim both lived in the same village, and had an argument over a stockpile of wood four years earlier.

Commune police chief San Long said they had gone out drinking together many times, but had never had a physical altercation.

Mr. Long also gave a slightly different account of Tuesday’s murder, however.

According to Mr. Long, Pen Odom left the shop where he had been drinking to buy more alcohol and was followed by Mr. Vannak, who punched him in the face and then stabbed him.

Mr. Long said the victim was initially driven by his family to the district referral hospital, but was turned away because his wounds were deemed too serious.

“On the way to the provincial hospital, his family thought he had fallen asleep, but when they got to the hospital, doctors told them he had died,” he said.

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