Top Cambodian Kickboxer, 23, Immolates Self

One of Cambodia’s best-known kick-boxers committed suicide by self-immolation late last week after becoming depressed over family troubles, friends and police in Kandal province said Sunday.

Chea Tot, 23, of the Cambodian Mine Action Center boxing club, doused himself with gasoline in his locked Takhmau district home on Thurs­­day then set himself alight, district police chief Sum Monitya said. Tim May Ty, Chea Tot’s coach, said the club has lost one of its top fighters.

Chea Tot, who began training in 1998 and had fought about 68 times, don­ned a pair of boxing gloves and shorts before taking his own life, Tim May Ty said. Neigh­bors tried to extinguish the fire but were un­able to save him, he said. Tim May Ty said Chea Tot was ad­mitted to Phnom Penh’s Kossa­mak Hospital at about 11 pm on Thurs­day and died about two hours later. His fu­ner­al was held  Fri­day in Takh­mau.

He is survived by a wife and a three-year-old daughter, Tot Srey Chum. Tim May Ty said Chea Tot had be­come depressed after his wife took their daughter and re­turn­ed to her family in Prey Veng prov­ince following an argument several days previously.

Coaches and boxers paid their condolences and expressed regret on Sunday for the loss of so young a fighter. Khem Sophoan, CMAC director gen­eral and president of the CMAC club, said Chea Tot was one of the club’s best fighters. He said he do­nated $200 for the funeral.

“We felt very sorry for the loss of our good kickboxer,” Khem Sop­hoan said.

Seng Kadeka, TV5’s assistant managing director in charge of boxing bouts, lauded Chea Tot’s skills in the ring, saying he usually fought his best in order to satisfy his fans.

“Chea Tot never had a bad fight at the TV5 arena,” Seng Kadeka said “It took him years to be a good fighter.”

Nuon Soriya, who fought Chea Tot about three times, said that he was shocked to have lost a good friend.

“Chea Tot was friendly and a tough fighter,” he said.




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