A 26-year-old man was gunned down at a Kompong Cham province rubber plantation Monday night while allegedly stealing rubber resin, rights workers said Thursday.
Nhor Nhe, 26, was shot dead around 11 pm in Ponhea Krek district while tapping resin in a private plantation, said Chan Soveth, an investigator with local rights group Adhoc.
Veal Mlou commune deputy police chief Sar Saphoeun said the main suspect in the killing was Khim Mean, a police officer for the commune.
“I don’t have any hard evidence to prove who the perpetrator is, but we suspect it was [Khim] Mean,” Sar Saphoeun said.
He added that Khim Mean went missing the day following the shooting, and has not been seen since.
Chan Soveth said Khim Mean was on guard duty at the plantation at the time of the killing and the Ministry of Interior and the provincial authorities should conduct a thorough investigation.
“This was a brutal murder, and a policeman was involved,” he said. “We encourage the authorities to investigate and arrest the perpetrator.”
Police were deployed as guards at Kompong Cham rubber plantations after a private security guard gunned down a 25-year-old man at the Chamkar Andaung plantation on April 14.
The victim was killed after he allegedly attempted to steal 5 kg of resin.
His killing sparked protests by over 300 villagers who burned down the plantation’s guardhouse and the home of its chief guard before torching the home of the plantation director.
In the days following that shooting, Provincial Governor Hun Neng announced that all of the province’s plantations would have their private guards replaced by policeman to prevent another killing.
Hun Neng could not be reached for comment Thursday.