A mob killed two suspected robbers in Takeo province’s Bati district on Saturday as police attempted to escort the suspects to a weapons cache, police said.
Sok Srun, 32, and Bor Ol, 40, were hacked and beaten to death by a mob of about 600 villagers armed with axes, machetes and sticks, who overpowered the six police officers transporting the suspects, said Sao Chhoeun, deputy penal police chief of Bati district.
The two men were arrested on Oct 7 in Battambang province and accused of robbing a family in Bati district’s Lom Pong commune the night of Sept 29, Takeo provincial police Chief Vuth Phally said.
The men reportedly shot into the family’s stilted house and threatened to kill the homeowners if they did not throw money down, Vuth Phally said. The victims were not hurt, but the suspects took about $750, he added.
On Saturday, the suspects led police to a weapons cache in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district and found two AK-47s and a K-54 handgun, Sao Chhoeun said.
They were leading police to a second hiding spot in Bati’s Lom Pong commune, where they confessed to have stashed an AK-47 and a grenade, when villagers seeking revenge ambushed the police’s truck, Sao Chhoeun said.
The men were killed within minutes and two policemen were slightly injured attempting to fight off the mob, he said. “The villagers were so angry at them,” he said. “We are sorry we can’t stop them.”
The suspects are believed to have terrorized the commune on many occasions in recent months. Sao Chhoeun said Sok Srun had been arrested six times for armed robbery in the past.
Police said two other suspects in the Sept 29 robbery are still at large. Police have no plans to arrest villagers for the mob attack, Sao Chhoeun said.