Police in Kandal province are searching for the owner of a wire rat trap that electrocuted another rat hunter and who they believe fled the scene after dumping the victim’s body in a nearby river.
Koh Thom district police chief Mouy Chantech said a local farmer heard Yoan Khoeun, 47, yelling for help from a nearby field at about 2:40 a.m. on Saturday. When he arrived at the scene with a group of neighbors about five minutes later, the man was dead.
“When they got there, they saw that the body had been shocked by the wire of an electrified rat trap on his right hand,” he said. “The wire of the trap was very small, so maybe he did not see the trap and that’s why he picked up the rat and it killed him.”
Mr. Chantech said the neighbors went to notify Yoan Khoeun’s wife, but that when they returned to the scene about 30 minutes later, the body was gone. The group later found the victim’s slingshot, basket and krama by the bank of a nearby river, he said.
The police chief said that Yoan Khoeun’s corpse was finally discovered floating in the river on Monday morning, caught in a fishing net about 8 km downstream from his possessions.
“After an autopsy, the police suspected that the victim was killed by the electrified rat trap because they found a wound on his right hand.” Mr. Chantech said. “Now the police are trying to arrest the trap owner.”
He said police were certain that the man who owns the land on which the trap was placed was not the owner of the trap because he was not a known rat trapper.
Prek Thmei commune chief Keo Bunly said such electrified rat traps were common among local farmers who want to protect their crops from the rodents, but that they had a duty to put up warning signs and let their neighbors know about the traps.
“It is illegal to use a temporary electrified trap without giving notice in advance,” Mr. Bunly said, noting that four others in the district had suffered the same fate as Yoan Khoeun since January.