A 27-year-old police officer went on trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday for the torture and murder of his girlfriend, whose badly bruised body was found floating in the Tonle Sap river last year.
Hong Kalidin was arrested on October 13 last year and charged with the murder of accounting student Song Davin, 20, after her body was found in the river on October 7. Police concluded that the victim had been tortured and raped before being killed.
Mr. Kalidin, who became a municipal police officer earlier this year, was subsequently arrested and charged with murder accompanied by torture and cruelty. Taking the stand on Friday, he claimed that he last saw his girlfriend alive and well on October 5, when he dropped her off at a Pencil Supermarket in Phnom Penh.
“At 2 a.m. on October 4, I came to get her and I drove her to my house. The afternoon of the 5th, I dropped her at Pencil Supermarket, and then I never had contact with her,” Mr. Kalidin said.
The defendant admitted that a Glock pistol, two silencers and a bag of crystal methamphetamine found in his Toyota Tundra after his arrest were his, and confessed to having used the drug for about a year.
Asked by Presiding Judge Veng Hourt why he had made no effort to contact his girlfriend after dropping her off at the supermarket, Mr. Kalidin said he “only loved her for fun.”
Yem Sotin, 26, a cousin and housemate of the victim, said the last time she saw Song Davin was when Mr. Kalidin picked her up on the evening of October 4.
“The day she went outside with the defendant, she was dressed in a blue dress like in the pictures of her dead body,” she said.
Ms. Sotin said her cousin called her from the defendant’s phone the next day to discuss the rent for their apartment.
On October 6, Ms. Sotin tried again to contact her cousin but could not reach her.
After the young woman’s body was found, Ms. Sotin said Mr. Kalidin called her to inquire about the death. She said she attempted to ensnare him by pretending that she did not yet know that the body had been identified.
“That evening, the defendant phoned me and asked, ‘Was the dead body real or fake?’ I answered, ‘I have not yet found her, so please can you help to find her?’ Then the defendant said he was busy and hung up the phone,” Ms. Sotin said.
The trial will continue on December 1.