Police in Kandal province are investigating the murder of an NGO worker and money lender after his body was discovered in a pond by a fisherman on Saturday in Ang Snuol district’s Samraong Loeu commune, officials said Monday.
Commune police chief Chhoeun Dy Vannak said that the body of Chhay Chhem, 62, who he said was a staff member with the Natural Resources Protection for Development Organization, was found floating in the pond at about 9 a.m. on Saturday.
“Police found the victim’s [motorbike] helmet about 5 meters from the pond,” Mr. Dy Vannak said, adding that Chhay Chhem’s shoes were also found near the pond.
Mr. Dy Vannak said he believed that Chhay Chhem had been murdered.
“After killing him somewhere else, the suspect brought the body to abandon it here,” he said. “We think that the suspect placed the shoes on the pond’s embankment to confuse police, to make it look like the victim drowned by himself.”
Khach Phalla, deputy Ang Snuol district police chief, said Chhay Chhem had been missing from his home in Kompong Speu’s Taing Krouch commune since April 13, when he told his son he was going to collect money.
“According to his son, before he went missing the victim rode a motorbike to go demand money from someone because he was also a money lender,” he said. “[The murder] might be linked with his business, but we need to arrest suspects first to know for sure.”
Ram Ran, chief of the provincial technical and scientific police bureau, who examined the body, said the victim was found to have head injuries.
“It is a murder case because the victim had head injuries and his clothing was torn,” he said, adding that Chhay Chhem likely died about five days before his body was discovered.
Chao Vuthy, deputy chief of the Kandal provincial serious crime police bureau, said that Chhay Chhem’s motorbike, mobile phone and wallet were missing.
“It is a murder case and a robbery too because the suspect also stole the victim’s property,” he said, noting that no suspects had been identified.