Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Official hints domestic murders are inevitable

Official hints domestic murders are inevitable

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak in 2016.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak in 2016. Heng Chivoan

Official hints domestic murders are inevitable

In the wake of a triple homicide stemming from domestic violence, a high-level government official has suggested similar tragedies are unavoidable, despite such killings frequently coming on the heels of pleas for help from victims to local authorities.

In what is at least the seventh high-profile domestic murder this year, a pregnant mother and her two children had their throats slit as they slept in their Tbong Khmum home. Their husband and stepfather, Chraing Phou, the chief suspect, fled the scene and police were continuing to search for him as of late Tuesday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak, meanwhile, said he was aware of the killings and that both police and commune authorities “have concern about this, and we are taking serious action”.

“The first step is to arrest,” he said, hoping that would deter future offenders. “The law must punish them.”

However, when asked about preventative steps the authorities could take, he deflected.

“We cannot avoid this kind of crime; it happens even in other countries, like England,” he said. “We are not living in heaven.”

However, the killing, and many others like it, followed reports from Sok Lean to local officials and police that her husband was violent and threatening towards her. When notified, local officials made Phou promise to end the violence and to stop “sharpening his machete”, but took no legal action.

Thida Khus, executive director of women’s rights group Silaka, said this latest case, like too many others, had “not caught the attention of the local authorities that the whole family is in danger”.

“Not enough action is being done to prevent this,” she said. “Prevention is better than letting it happen.”

“I think there needs to be a lot more sensitivity to the situation, not just arrests, but seeking help, counselling, and security houses for the family and [to protect] the life of the children.”

She urged authorities to intervene earlier, stressing that families did not know where to turn, and added that a critical shortage of social workers limited options of victims.

“There has to be some consequences for the people in charge,” she said.

Phou, meanwhile, continued to evade arrest late Tuesday, according to the Child Protection Unit’s James McCabe.

“Investigations are ongoing and all available resources are being utilised in cooperation with multiple policing agencies,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro