Police in Kompong Cham province on Tuesday arrested three fishermen for the murder of Svay Por commune police chief Chan Sophal, whose body was found by villagers on Friday one month after he disappeared while investigating illegal fishing.
The suspects, Soy Soeun, 50, Hum Hoeun, 43, and Pho Pos, 44, are from the same commune in Srei Santhor district and had been under investigation by the victim before he disappeared, district police chief Keng Sreng said.
“After investigating for more than four weeks, we have arrested three suspects who were involved in the disappearance of Mr. Chan Sophal,” he said, adding that police were still searching for a fourth suspect whose name he would not release.
“If we tell the media, the suspect could be alerted,” he said.
Four days before the commune police chief went missing on June 21, he had argued with the four suspects after going to question them about illegal fishing in the area, Mr. Sreng said.
“The four men are old suspects that police were investigating and found illegal fishing equipment in their houses.”
Deputy provincial police chief Choem Senghung said that while the suspects denied killing Chan Sophal, there was enough evidence to charge them with premeditated murder.
“Before the suspects were arrested, police found a bloody machete at Mr. Soeun’s house and discovered two bloodied items of clothing from the other suspects,” he said.
He said police also learned that Mr. Soeun had telephoned Chan Sophal to report an illegal fishing case on the day he disappeared.
Deputy provincial prosecutor Riel Sophin said the three suspects were still being questioned by the court and have not yet been charged.