27 May 2005

Cambodia Crime Compendium

Every fortnight, the Phnom Penh Post runs the Police Blotter, which lists crimes reported in the Khmer newspapers. For those of you not lucky enough to subscribe to the PPP, here are a few selections:
May 7: Meas Chhem, 22, was sent to a hospital...after...ten assailants attacked him with a knife during a nighttime dancing argument...
Ten attackers, but only one knife? Did they pass it around?
May 8: Police arrested five people trying to escape after committing a robbery at midnight... Police said the suspects...stopped a moto-taxi driver...and demanded his key. ...they tried to run away after he shouted for help.
The moto-taxi drivers here drive 125cc motorbikes at best. These five guys were probably all expecting to escape on the motorbike, in which case they likely could have been caught by a slowish jogger. And there's something missing from this story. At midnight, the streets here are pretty well deserted. How on earth did these guys get caught? I mean, the driver yells, and then what happened? He didn't detain them single-handed.
May 9: A crowd of people arrested one of two men trying to steal a motorbike... [The motorbike owner] said they asked to buy his bike, but one of them tested his bike and rode away. The other man was detained and later handed over to police.
This crime doesn't seem to have been very well thought through. Careful criminals don't leave their partners at the scene. And I'm a little surprised that the accomplice survived his "arrest" by the crowd.
May 11: ...a poor farmer was shot dead while sitting and talking with his neighbors... Police said [he] was shot once in the stomach with an AK-47 by an unidentified man who escaped on foot. Police suspect revenge was the motive of the killing because some people were not happy with [the victim], as he was a sorcerer.
See, this is the kind of crime that you just don't hear about in Seattle. Though I suppose if the religious wackos continue to gain power in the US, it might become common there, too.
May 12: A farmer...had five buffaloes stolen... The man told police that two gunmen entered his house and aimed at him before esacping with his buffaloes.
Another instance of poor planning. Buffaloes are hard to pocket and run away with, especially given that it's difficult to get them to do much more than slowly amble. This farmer must have been pretty isolated, and likely had no way to call anyone else. But how far could the thieves have gotten by daybreak?
May 13: [The victim]...was sent to...hospital...after being axed during a nighttime dancing argument at a neighbor's wedding party... Police said [he] was struck six times by four people who escaped after the assault. Police said the man probably died quickly because he had massive head injuries.
Again with the "nighttime dancing argument". Clearly people should be encouraged to have their dancing arguments during daylight hours. And axings are pretty common in the police blotter.
May 14: ...an 18-year old monk...confessed to police that he raped a 10-year-old girl while she was playing in the pagoda where he lived.
May 16: Police arrested a 19-year old man after he tried to steal money from a Khmer noodle seller... The woman told police the man had bought a bowl of noodles for 500 riel, but after[wards] he picked up her knife and stabbed her once in the arm, before attempting to steal her money. He was caught after the seller shouted for help.
Yet another stupid, or possibly desperate, criminal. 500 riel is about $.125, and the noodle seller, at best, sells 100 bowls a day. So she likely had no more than about $10. Besides, noodle sellers tend to go where the customers are, and there would be people around to "arrest" the would-be thief.
May 17: Police are looking for a woman...who escaped with her 12-year-old daughter after killing her husband... Police said [she] was probably angry as she learned that her husband...had been extra-loved by another woman...
Oh yeah, baby, give me some of that extra-loving.

And that's it for this edition of the Cambodia Crime Compendium! See you next time.