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Village chief charged with murdering ‘lover’

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Kraing Kantreal village chief Nheb Sokhom, 67, was charged with killing 56-year-old Chea Thorn. Police

Village chief charged with murdering ‘lover’

The Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court on Monday placed a village chief in pre-trial detention for killing a woman with whom he had allegedly had a romantic relationship. The incident happened on June 21 in Samaki Meanchey district’s Peam commune.

Provincial Military Police deputy commander Hang Socheat told The Post on Monday that Kraing Kantreal village chief Nheb Sokhom, 67, was charged with killing 56-year-old Chea Thorn.

“Investigating Judge Y Thavrak charged him for murder under Article 199 of the Criminal Code,” he said.

Sokhom faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Socheat said an investigation found that Thorn had a husband and kids, but she had been seeing the village chief romantically since 2015. Thorn’s husband is the village chief’s brother-in-law, he said.

Before the incident, there was an engagement ceremony in the village. After drinking some beers at the morning ceremony, the woman telephoned Sokhom and told him to meet her at a rice field around 6km from her home.

During questioning, the village chief admitted that he and Thorn engaged in sexual intercourse when they met at around 12pm.

But during the act, the woman suddenly had a severe seizure. Sokhom then dressed her and tried to wake her.

Uncertain if the woman had fainted or died after checking her breathing, he took Thorn to a nearby cottage and covered her with rice husks, plywood, and palm leaves. He then set her on fire and escaped on a motorbike, Socheat said.

Villagers said they saw Thorn riding her motorbike to the rice field, but the authorities were not aware of the incident until 7:15pm.

After receiving a report of the body’s discovery, Socheat and his forces arrived at the scene at 7:35pm and found Thorn’s body in the burnt cottage.

Provincial court spokesperson Chhuon Sivin could not be reached for comment on Monday.

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