Robbers Attack Kompong Speu Family; Possible Ties to Similar Crimes

An armed gang violently attacked and robbed a man and his two children in their remote farmhouse in Kompong Speu province on Sunday evening, according to police, who say the crime may be linked to a string of similar armed robberies in neighboring provinces.

The man, Ban Sokiet, was shot in the knee, while his 8-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son were beaten by the robbers in an effort to get Mr. Sokiet to reveal the location of his valuables, local police officials said on Monday.

“Ban Sokiet, 54, was shot in his right knee and his son, Kiet Visal, 20, was beaten on his head using an ax handle and [his daughter] Kiet Liza was left with bruises,” said Saom Bora, the deputy penal police chief for Kompong Speu province.

“We sent our police forces to help, but by the time they arrived they had already left.”

He explained that the victim was a foreman at a mango plantation in Phnom Sruoch district’s Treng Trayoeng commune, about 55 km from the provincial capital, and lived in a house on the plantation with his two children.

District police chief Say Bunthon said that the three victims were receiving medical treatment in Phnom Penh and that police were searching for four or five men, armed with a K-59 handgun, an AK-47 assault rifle and an ax.

He said that one of the nine farm workers living nearby on the plantation alerted police of the attack since the family’s four phones were stolen, along with an unspecified amount of money and jewelry.

“The victim’s kids were beaten by the gunmen last night for around 20 minutes to extort money and gold jewelry, before [the gunmen] escaped into the mango farm and a sugar plantation” nearby, he said.

While police have few leads, Mr. Bora said that Sunday’s robbery bore similarities to recent raids on remote houses in neighboring Kampot and Kandal provinces, and that police were working together to apprehend the culprits.

“Although those gunmen are still at large, our police forces are working diligently to find out their identity, because this armed group used to rob victims in other neighboring provinces,” he said.

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