An ethnic Vietnamese fisherman was hacked to death aboard his boat on the Tonle Sap lake in Kompong Chhnang province early on Monday morning by a pair of assailants armed with a machete and a pistol, police said.
Chroeng Yamkong, 42, was attacked after piloting his 12-meter boat out into the lake from a dock in Boribor district with his 24-year-old assistant, Le Thiyong, according to Chhnok Trou commune police chief Seng Dy.
“At about 4:30 a.m., as they were fishing, two unidentified men sped in their boat toward the Vietnamese boat,” Mr. Dy said. “When they arrived, one man pointed a handgun at the victim’s head and ordered him to stop the motor.”
The victim complied, the police chief said, at which point the pistol-wielding man’s accomplice climbed onto the boat with a machete and began hacking at Chroeng Yamkong’s body while Ms. Thiyong hid below decks.
“The other used the machete to chop him multiple times: One time on top of his head, five times on the back of his head, one time on his back and one more time on his right arm,” Mr. Dy said, adding that both men had tied cloths around their faces to hide their identities.
“I think this murder could be related to a personal dispute over fishing on the Tonle Sap lake,” he said. “I don’t think the murder was due to racial discrimination because [Chroeng Yamkong] has lived there a long time.”
Chan Rith, chief of the provincial police’s water traffic bureau, said the assailants remained at large.
“This was not a robbery case because after they killed the victim, the suspects did not steal any property,” he said, adding that another boat owned by the victim had been fishing nearby—about 3 km from the shore—but that no one aboard the second vessel saw the violence unfold.
Min Vinya, chief of the Khmer-Vietnamese Association in Chhnok Trou, said he was at a loss to explain the attack on Chroeng Yamkong, who owned four large boats and employed 10 fishermen.
“He was a good person; that family told me they never had any disputes…with any people in the community,” he said.
“I don’t think the murder was because of discrimination, as we have lived here for a long time and have never had a bad experience like this.”