Still at Large, Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Ax Murder

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday sentenced a construction site security guard to life in prison for hacking a subcontractor to death with an ax in November.

Presiding Judge Heng Kesro announced that after listening to concluding arguments in the case, he had decided to sentence Eang Saroeun—who remains at large— to life in prison.

“The court has decided to sentence the accused, Eang Saroeun, 30, to life in prison on the charge of premeditated murder for using an ax to hack the victim and causing him to die,” he said.

The judge also ordered police to find and arrest Mr. Saroeun so that he can serve his sentence and pay compensation of 50 million riel (about $12,500) to the victim’s son, Ratha Bunnara.

Sao Sambath, Mr. Bunnara’s lawyer, said the murder of Chea Samkhan, 55, occurred at about 6 p.m. on November 20 in Chamkar Mon district’s Tuol Svay Prey I commune.

Several days earlier, Mr. Saroeun and Chea Samkhan got into an argument when the security guard accused the subcontractor of making his job difficult by entering and leaving the site too often and leaving equipment in a disorganized state, Mr. Sambath said.

He said that a few days after the quarrel, the boss at the worksite called a meeting with the two men to discuss their disagreement.

“Then, after the meeting, the perpetrator came downstairs with an ax wrapped in cloth and when the victim came down after him to get his bike, the perpetrator came in, took off his helmet and hacked his head,” Mr. Sambath said. “The victim died at the scene.”

Mr. Saroeun then fled the scene, he said.

Deputy commune police chief Chheng Sovann said that police were searching for the convicted murderer.

Mr. Bunnara, 37, the son of the victim, said the court’s verdict was reasonable but that he wanted $80,000 in compensation.

“They have to arrest the perpetrator because we cannot let him escape justice,” he added.

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