Three men were arrested in Kompong Speu province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in the murder of Ly Seng Lim, the owner of a plantation where the suspects worked. Police, however, remained at a loss Thursday in their search for a motive in the attack.
Oral district police chief Buth Bunthoeun said the villagers found the bloody body of Ly Seng Lim, 63, about 10 meters from his house on the 10-hectare plantation in Rasmei Samakki commune, where he grew sesame, beans and corn.
“At about 7 a.m. yesterday, local people found the victim’s body at his corn plantation…and reported it to local police,” he said.
Mr. Bunthoeun said that because the body was stiff when it was found, investigators believed that Ly Seng Lim died on Tuesday night, adding that the victim had suffered multiple blows from a hard object to his back, and had his throat slit.
Deputy district police chief Iem Chantha named the suspects as Svay Chea, 56; Sak Chan, 35; and Teang Chet, 30, and said they were arrested between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Mr. Chantha said the suspects told police that Ly Seng Lim had been drinking with the three workers at the plantation’s office on Tuesday evening but left ahead of them and did not return.
“I suspect this case involves revenge,” he said, adding that the workers may have been angry that their boss did not pay them an advance for the Pchum Ben holiday, which ended on Tuesday.
An Yuth Hong, another deputy district police chief who led the investigation of the crime scene, said that the suspects were currently being held at the district police station for questioning.
“No one has confessed yet, so we are still questioning them,” he said. “I have no idea whether this murder involves revenge or robbery. We are still investigating.”
Mr. Yuth Hong said two inexpensive mobile phones had been stolen from Ly Seng Lim following the murder, but that he still had a fake gold watch on his left wrist when villagers found his body.
He said the victim’s family and neighbors told police that he had recently accused Mr. Chea, one of the three suspects, of failing to properly guard his office on the plantation, leading to a dispute between the two men.
“We are finding it very difficult to investigate this case because there wasn’t any evidence left at the scene,” he added