Two young men were provisionally charged on Tuesday with murdering a 5-year-old boy who was found with his throat cut in Battambang province on Monday morning, according to police and court officials.
Three friends—Heng Hin, 18; Thai Bong, 19; and Met Poch, 27—were arrested hours after the body of Kha Panha was discovered at his father’s house in Samlot district. The father had left his son in Mr. Poch’s care while he traveled to Battambang City, and the other two men came to drink at the family’s home on Sunday night, according to police.
Under questioning by police on Tuesday, Mr. Hin—who has admitted to cutting the boy’s throat with a handsaw—told investigators that he lashed out because the boy would not stop crying, said On Kvai, chief of the provincial force’s serious crimes bureau.
“He told police that he killed the boy because he was crying and he wouldn’t stop, even though he tried to console him; that’s why he killed the boy,” Mr. Kvai said.
“Met Poch told police that he had gone to urinate at the time of the incident, and that when he came back, he saw Heng Hin slicing the boy’s throat,” he added.
Despite Mr. Poch’s claims, police decided to send them both to court on Tuesday, the bureau chief said, adding that Mr. Bong had been released because it was determined that he was not involved in the murder.
“Even though one of them confessed that he killed the boy, we still have to send them both to the court because they were drinking together and no one else was at the scene,” he said.
Provincial court spokesman Toch Sopheakdey, however, said that while it was true that Mr. Bong was released by police, the 19-year-old was later rearrested by military police and would be questioned at the court today.
He said Mr. Hin and Mr. Poch were both provisionally charged with premeditated murder and sent to an investigating judge, but that there was not enough time on Tuesday to formally charge them.