A mob of about 50 people stoned a suspected motorcycle thief to death in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on Sunday after chasing him from Kandal province, police said.
Chea Sovann, Pur Senchey district penal police chief, said the identity of the victim was still unclear but he had been beaten to death on an open plot of land in Kantork commune around midday after villagers from Kandal’s Ang Snuol district chased after him on their motorbikes.
“The crowd of people looked like a herd of cattle, throwing many rocks and pieces of earth at the suspect while he rode the stolen motorbike along the dirt road,” Mr. Sovann said.
“That guy was injured and then he fell off the motorbike. He tried to flee into a field but unfortunately there were about 50 people surrounding him,” he said.
“We could not intervene in time because there were a lot of people,” he added. “When we found him, he was already dead.”
Mr. Sovann said the man had died from head injuries sustained while being beaten with rocks, adding that the victim’s identity was still unknown because he was not carrying an ID card.
No suspects had been arrested as of Sunday afternoon and Pur Senchey police were not looking to arrest anyone, he said, explaining that the case had been handed over to Ang Snuol district police officials.
However, Mean Samnang, Ang Snuol district police chief, said his officials were only searching for an accomplice in the motorcycle theft who had managed to escape the mob, and that it was the responsibility of Pur Senchey police to locate suspects in the killing.
Mr. Samnang also said he did not know the victim’s identity, but said the Honda Dream motorbike was stolen from Kraing Mkak commune at about 11 a.m. from a 37-year-old man.
“That suspect used a kind of fake key to steal his motorbike. There were a lot of local people chasing him from our area,” Mr. Samnang said.
“There were two suspects involved in this theft but fortunately the second suspect fled on his motorbike,” he added.