A 40-year-old man, whose wife claimed he suffered from mental illness, was arrested on March 14 after he had hacked a boy to death with a machete in Ampil Pha-em village, Ramlaing Chak commune, and Kampong Speu’s Samrong Tong district.
Phok Sambath, head of the provincial police’s autopsy bureau said on March 15 that the suspect has a wife with three children aged between six and 16 and lived in the village. The boy was one year and two months old. The victim’s mother is a 30-year-old garment worker.
The victim was hacked twice in the head and neck, leaving him die on the spot. After hacking the victim, the suspect attempted to kill himself by cutting his neck.
“The suspect is also injured. He is getting medical treatment at the provincial referral hospital and police are guarding him because he cut himself too,” he said.
Commune police chief Yav Kan said the suspect and the victim are neighbours. Before the murder, the boy had walked for fun near the suspect’s home at about 1pm on March 14. The suspect appeared from his home with the machete, hacking the victim in the head and neck. His mother, grandmother and aunt tried to chase the suspect as the boy was dying.
The suspect escaped into his home with the machete and people went to get the local police. He locked himself in his home. District police chief Khut Sophal led a group of police to the scene and tried for two hours to convince the suspect to turn himself over to police, but he refused.
Kan said provincial police chief Sam Samuon ordered special forces to the home who shot tear gas into the house. The choking gas forced him outside where police arrested him.
Pin Kim, 38, wife of the suspect, said that her husband is a hearse driver and has had a mental-illness since 2012. She brought him for medical treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh and the doctor told them that the husband suffered from mental-illness. He had taken medicine for years, but he did not get better. She took him to a traditional healer.
The healer had claimed that the husband was aggressive because he is a hearse driver and ghosts had possessed him.
“Both doctor and traditional healer could not treat him. He often started trouble with me, I took the children to live at my mother’s home and my kids visited him once a week,” she said.
“His memory is still good sometimes. He could remember the kids’ names, but I did not think that his situation would worsen and he would kill the boy,” she said, adding that the victim’s family is also her husband’s close relative.