A commune police officer died Wednesday night in Kompong Cham province from a stab wound to the neck after he and two other officers tried to break up a party hosted by area youths, the provincial police chief said.
Lon Sirath, 36, died about 8 pm in Stung Trang district’s Prek Kak commune, Provincial Police Chief Nuon Samin said. The slain officer, along with two other commune policemen, was investigating a large dance party at which people were reportedly extorting 1,000 riel from passing motorists by stopping them on a nearby road.
Mr Nuon Samin said one motorist refused to pay and had his arm broken by members of the dance party, prompting the officers’ arrival. When the police got out of their car, five youths attacked them, one piercing Mr Lon Sirath’s neck.
Police were not able to use their pistols because of the large crowd of bystanders and dim light at the outdoor party, which was welcoming the New Year, Mr Nuon Samin said.
He said police later arrested two youths, including the alleged killer, and were looking for the three others, who remained at large Thursday. He declined to identify the detained pair, citing an ongoing investigation.
Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said police officers are “rarely” killed in the line of duty. Although he was not aware of the case in Kompong Cham and said there was no official figure totaling the number of officers who have fallen while on duty, he said the death of Mr Lon Sirath was likely the year’s first killing of a police officer.
“We share our sympathies with the victim’s family,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Frank Radosevich)