A 53-year-old Military Police officer shot his wife to death before himself following an argument in the early hours of January 10 in a rented room in Kouk Khleang commune of Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district.
District police chief Hour Meng Vang identified the officer as Seng Kimsan, a coach at the Kambol Military Police Academy, and his wife Chuob Saren, 36. They are survived by a 15-year-old daughter.
He said because the couple had died, it was not possible to determine the cause of the incident with certainty, but police suspect that the shooting was motivated by jealousy.
Commune police chief Duong Vannak said on January 10 that Kimsan shot his wife three times in the back. She was killed in the kitchen before the husband shot himself in the head in the bedroom.
A Sen Sok district policeman who asked not to be named said Kimsan had an ex-wife with whom he had five children. He later married Saren who was an online merchant. She communicated with her customers every day, leading to her husband’s jealousy, the officer speculated.
He added that following an argument and the shootings, their daughter had rushed out of the room, shouting for help from neighbours. She asked for her parents to be taken to a hospital, but they were pronounced dead at the scene.
Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group Licadho, described domestic violence as a scourge of society which continues to occur among families across the spectrums of wealth and education. Despite general social progress, incidence of domestic violence has not been significantly reduced and has actually worsened over the years, he said.
Sam Ath said the deleterious effects of domestic violence were manifold, leading to deaths and traumatic hospitalisations of victims, incarceration of perpetrators and orphaning of children who are often further victimised by reduced standards of living from poverty as well as an increased drop-out rate from school. These burdens then fall upon the government, he said.
“Reasons for domestic violence are attributable to a social mindset which still values women less than men, subordinating women in their homes or places of work, perpetuating unacceptable beliefs and traditions like forced marriages and exploiting loopholes in law enforcement,” he said.
Sam Ath added that other causes included issues like stresses over the stability of livelihood and balance of power within a family as well as forms of insanity like jealousy which can be exacerbated by consumption of alcohol and drugs.