Raucous Youths Kill Police Officer, Wreak Havoc

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)


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