Police are investigating the death of a 6-year-old boy who was electrocuted while riding a mechanical horse at a shopping center in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Monday, officials said on Tuesday.
The child, In Tra, was taken to the New Stung Meanchey Market in the district’s Stung Meanchey commune by his mother, a garment worker, to buy food and offerings for the Khmer New Year, according to deputy district police chief Huor Minh Vang.
The mother—whose name Mr. Minh Vang said he could not recall —then gave In Tra 1,000 riel to ride on a mechanical horse while she searched for something to eat nearby, he said.
After reviewing security footage of the incident, Mr. Minh Vang said, police had concluded that the horse ride electrocuted the boy.
“The last child who played with it, he fell down from the horse,” he said of the footage. “He just climbed up on the horse and made it shake…. About three minutes later, an employee who was standing nearby hurried to lift the kid up and make him wake up.”
“I am not sure of the specific reason for the incident yet, but based on a first examination, it could be due to a cable that was damaged by a rat or cockroaches, and the electricity caught the metal,” he added.
Employees and In Tra’s mother rushed the boy to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, Mr. Minh Vang said.
He said the horse ride had been closed temporarily while police filed a report to court prosecutors, who would decide whether to summon or arrest anyone in connection with the death. He noted, however, that the boy’s mother had declined to press charges against the market’s owners, seeking a monetary settlement instead.
Mean Chanyda, director of the municipal administration department, said authorities were aware of the death and had sent officials to inspect the ride “to determine whether it was an accident or a technical problem.”
Representatives of the market could not be reached.