04 June 2005

Cambodia Crime Compendium

Once again, it's time to recap the misdeeds from the Phnom Penh Post's police blotter (itself translated from Khmer newspapers)! Sharp-eyed readers will notice it hasn't been two weeks since the last one. That's because it was late. So sue me.
A group of ten masked gunmen escaped.. [The victim] said the robbers entered his house and aimed a long gun at him, then they stole [some jewelry], one camera, and one million riel.
One million riel. It's about $250. Still, it has a nice ring to it.
A 34-year-old woman...was chopped four times in the head and her body dropped downstairs by a male neighbor...[who] told police that he thought [she] was a thief because she walked upstairs silently. [The neighbor] escaped after talking to police.
So the lesson here is to make noise when you go upstairs. Oh, and police? When you have the perp in custody, keep him there, 'kay?
A crowd killed a 35-year-old man...with heavy knifes [sic] and axes after he was accused of stealing cows...
Again with the cattle rustling. I tell you, it's just like the Wild Wes...no, no, it really isn't at all.
[A 26-year-old man] and his 5-year-old son...were killed instantly when a 57mm artillery shell exploded...after [the man] tried to open it to sell the scrap metal to a steel-recycling vendor. Police said the explosion injured three other people who were watching...
This kind of thing is all too common in this part of the world — a result of the enormous amount of materiel dropped during the wars. People will insist on opening UXOs (unexploded ordnance) so they can sell the casings; stand well away when they do, no matter how fascinating it seems.
Three passengers died instantly when their motorbike crashed into a container truck... Police said that [they] were struck from the front while trying to overtake a car. The truck swerved into a nearby canal and its driver...was arrested.
This'll be three adults on a single 125cc (max) motorbike, passing on a highway, betting they can get past the car before the truck arrives, and losing. Motorized vehicles haven't been common here for long enough for a strong culture of good judgement on this stuff to have developed. And why arrest the truck driver? Couldn't find anyone else to arrest?
[A man] and his wife...were sent to a provincial hospital...after being severely injured. Police said the couple were attacked with a heavy knife by the woman's older sister...who later committed suicide by hanging herself with a krama [traditional Cambodian scarf]. ...the oldest sister of the two women said [the suicide] was angry because her brother-in-law...had extra-love with [his sister-in-law] but had left when she was eight months pregnant with his baby.
Now you know where soap opera writers get their stories.
A Thai national...was found hanged with a rope at the Star Vegas casino in Poipet... The reason of the suicide was not known, but [his] family reported to police that he had high blood pressure.
I don't think the reason given is adequate. Having hypertension in Poipet might be enough, though, especially if you've just lost everything at the casino.
[A 30-year-old man] was sent to a district hospital...after being axed during a drunken argument... [He had] criticized [a neighbor] for only harvesting 20 kilograms of soybeans per hectare. [The neighbor] said he was angry with [the] comments because he had in fact harvested 200 kilograms per hectare.
People take agricultural yields very seriously indeed in Cambodia.
....a deputy chief of the provincial court...filed a complaint...after the front tire of his car was shot out as he drove home... [He] said four policemen, who worked at the...toll booth shot at his car with an AK-47 and ordered him to return to the toll gate because he had paid 800 riel less than the full toll.
I wish I knew the rest of this story. Police aren't so much in the habit of shooting at officials here, unless they represent the opposition. And using a bullet to recover $.20 in tolls? Not cost-efficient, guys.

And that's the CCC! See you in two weeks for another round of murder and mayhem on the Mekong.