In the latest instance of mob retribution, a group of up to 40 villagers in Kandal province fatally beat a man who had allegedly hacked the father of his girlfriend to death with a sword after the father refused to let them marry, a police official said on Tuesday.
The killing of Suon Uttara on Monday morning in Kandal Stung district’s Roka commune follows a series of high-profile crowd revenge attacks over the past few months.
As in the other recent mob beatings, no one is set to face charges over the most recent violence, said deputy district police chief Chea Samoeun.
According to Mr. Samoeun, Suon Uttara, 35, was in a long-term relationship with the daughter of 62-year-old Lonh Lun. On Sunday evening, the couple were talking on the telephone when Lonh Lun grabbed the phone from his daughter and began to berate Suon Uttara because he did not approve of him as a suitor.
Mr. Samoeun said that Lonh Lun angrily “dared” Suon Uttara to come to his house, at which point the phone went silent.
At about 12:40 a.m on Monday, Suon Uttara went to the house and hacked Lonh Lun as he slept outside in a hammock, slashing his head, body and arms with a large sword, Mr. Samoeun said.
“This murder case occurred because the suspect was mad as he asked to marry the victim’s daughter, but the victim rejected [him],” Mr. Samoeun said.
Suon Uttara then attacked Lonh Lun’s wife, 60-year-old Vor Rai, who was sleeping beside her husband, causing a serious injury that required emergency surgery at a Phnom Penh hospital, he said.
Mr. Samoeun said that Lonh Lun’s seven daughters heard the attack and shouted for help, alerting between 30 and 40 villagers. They descended on the house with sticks and began beating Suon Uttara, who was still holding the bloody blade with which he had murdered the older man, the deputy police chief said.
Suon Uttara was pronounced dead at the scene when officers arrived a few hours later, Mr. Samoeun said.
Am Sam Ath, monitoring manager for rights group Licadho, said mob killings were typically the result of blind rage, leading people to forget the law, or a lack of faith in the justice system.
“Mob killing is wrong under the law, but people have lost their hope in the law,” he said.