Police Nab Murder Suspect

Five months after prostitute Kim Ly was choked to death, police Friday arrested a man accused in the attack.

Thau Eng Khieng, who police say owns a brothel in the Tuol Kok district, was arrested in the Koh Sotin district of Kompong Cham province as he made his weekly visit to the pagoda with his wife.

He was held in the Phnom Penh municipal court prison over the weekend, and is to appear in court today, officials said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Lek Vannak said the suspect “is a cruel man, who treated other prostitutes badly by beating them and threatening them.’’

Police said Kim Ly, 19, was killed last November in a brothel on Street 70, a notorious red-light area on the city’s outskirts. Her body was found dumped in a market in the Meanchey district.

Police said at the time she had been killed because she had fallen in love and refused to sleep with any more clients.

Kim Ly’s murder drew widespread attention after human rights workers said it was part of a pattern of prostitutes being slain, with nobody being arrested for the crimes. The workers said the perpetrators were not being charged because they had powerful connections with high-ranking officials.

Earlier this month, however, Poipet brothel owner Meach Bunrith was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the beating death of another prostitute who refused to sleep with clients.

Kao Kim Hourn, executive director of the Cambodian Insti­tute for Cooperation and Peace, hailed that conviction as “a serious shift in the way the courts are treating these types of cases.’’

A warrant was issued for Thau Eng Khieng’s arrest shortly after the murder. Lek Vannak said the sus­pect and his family fled the city.

Phnom Penh police circulated information about the crime and the suspect to other districts, including Koh Sotin. Thau Eng Khieng was arrested by Koh Sotin police in cooperation with Kom­pong Cham police, according to Um Tha Kiri, deputy judicial police chief for Kompong Cham.


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