26 June 2005

Cambodia Crime Compendium


The fortnightly roundup of mischief and mayhem by the Mekong! As usual, all the stories are taken from the Phnom Penh Post, which in turn translates them from stories in the Khmer press.
Police are looking for a man who committed a murder during a robbery at midnight... [The victim] was axed four times in the head while sleeping on a bed downstairs, as he had been drunk earlier in the evening. ...the thief went upstairs and robbed [his wife] of one million riel after killing her husband.
It's probably just the translation — I'm pretty sure the victim's having been drunk led to his sleeping downstairs, rather than being the cause of his getting axed in the head. And once again — one million riel is about $250, or more than a year's income for many people here.
Police arrested three gunmen after a robbery...in...Phnom Penh. One of the robbers...tried unsuccessfully to escape after aiming a K-54 handgun at a man sitting in the park and stealing his two mobile phones. Police confiscated the phones from the thieves and handed them back to the victim.
Cell phones are often people's most valuable possessions, and, as in other parts of Asia, are a status symbol. This is the Cambodian equivalent of someone carjacking an American's Jaguar.

I do like the way firearms are always carefully identified in these reports. Many Cambodians are, of course, very familiar with weaponry from from the war.
A woman...was sentenced to five years in prison after being charged in a robbery... During the hearing...[the] Judge...said [the woman] was arrested...last year after [a man] accused her of using a trick and stealing his motorbike. [The man] said [the woman] and her two adopted sons persuaded him to her guesthouse and gave him sex while he was drunk. [He] said that while he was having sex, [her] adopted sons took off with [his] motorbike.
The family that robs Mom's johns together, stays together.
...an activist from the Sam Rainsy Party was knifed to death while drinking alcohol with his neighbors... A witness said [he] was stabbed in the bladder with a bayonet by...a supporter of the Cambodian People's Party. The witness said the men argued over a political issue.
The CPP is Hun Sen's party, which is well known for its willingness to use violence to persuade others of the error of their ways. Unfortunately, there's little indication the Sam Rainsy party would be any different if it were somehow to take power. And, a bayonet? How many people have one of those lying around? (I mean, I own one, but it's Crimean War-era and would have trouble cutting warm butter.)
A farmer...was taken to a provincial hospital after being poisoned with insecticide... His wife said [he] tried to commit suicide after arguing with her. She said [he] was angry because she had bought 200 riel worth of soya milk for herself but didn't buy any for him.
This kind of story breaks your heart, and shows just how poor many Cambodians are. 200 riel is about US$0.05.
Police are looking for [a man] who escaped after killing his wife during a domestic dispute... Police said [he] was angry after his wife... accused him of stealing 500 riel. [He] killed [her] with a heavy knife and he later cut her head off.
Really. 500 riel = $.125. It's difficult to imagine, being so poor that that amount can prompt such a brutal murder.
[A man] was found dead... [Police] said [he] had his arms and legs tied up and that he had been electrocuted. [Police] suspected the murder involved... a son of... a member of the National Assembly from the Cambodian People's Party who died recently from illness. A witness told police that [the son] had fired his gun in the air when [the victim] was present to demand ownership of the villa after his father died.
Again with the CPP. But really, this is a good illustration of why a strong court system is a good idea. That way, property disputes can be settled by litigation rather than electrocution.
...a village security guard accidentally shot himself while beating one of two robbers he apprehended... ...a motorcycle taxi driver said he saw [the guard] try to hit the thief on the head with a rifle while holding the barrel, but the gun discharged, shooting [the guard] in the stomach.
It's hard to feel a whole lot of sympathy for anyone here. Stupidity and brutality are never a good mix.And that's it for this edition. Stay safe out there, and always, always use your nightstick when beating people you arrest.