A woman was murdered with a large wooden stick after drinking with a married couple at a Khmer New Year gathering in Preah Vihear province, according to police, who offered drastically different accounts of the killing.
Provincial police chief Sy Kiri said the 58-year-old woman, Chan Noeun, was raped and murdered by the husband—whose name he could not recall—after she fell asleep on Thursday morning near the couple’s cassava plantation, about 2 km from their houses in Choam Ksan district.
“Before the incident, the couple persuaded the victim to pray with them to get luck and happiness. After praying and drinking alcohol, the wife went away somewhere and the husband took that opportunity to rape the victim,” Mr. Kiri said.
“During the rape, the victim woke up and got angry with the man—leading to an argument—so the man picked up a stick and hit the victim to death, dumping her body in a small canal without water nearby.”
Mr. Kiri said police tracked down the suspect at his plantation at about 4 p.m. on Sunday.
“After being arrested at his plantation, the suspect confessed that he raped the victim and now he is at the provincial police headquarters and we will send him to the court tomorrow morning,” he said.
However, Keo Chamroeun, the deputy provincial police chief in charge of serious crimes, said Ms. Noeun had not been raped, but had simply been beaten to death, with wounds on her head, back, neck and other parts of the body.
Mr. Chamroeun said the wife, Ning Phim, and not the husband, had murdered the woman because she believed her husband was in love with the victim. He said she had also admitted to the crime under questioning.
“Based on the suspect’s confession, she actually hit the victim with a big stick to death because she felt jealous,” he said.
“While her husband was not around, the wife had an argument with the victim, and when the victim started walking back to her home, the wife followed and used the stick to hit her to death.”