Police probe after monk found beaten to death with rope around neck | Land Portal

Police are still investigating the murder of a pagoda chief monk who was found dead on the morning of December 20 in Vihear Luong commune in Kandal province’s northernmost Ponhea Leu district.

The body of Chey Rith, the chief monk of Preah Chedei Thmey pagoda in Chedei Thmey village, was found in his room with bruises on his face and mouth and a rope had been tied around his neck.

The victim’s relatives claim that land titles and other valuable property have gone missing and were possibly stolen in the incident.

Provincial police chief Chhoeun Sochet said on December 21 that officials could not yet determine whether it was due to rancour, such as a personal dispute, or as part of a robbery.

“We are currently investigating. If there’s any additional information uncovered, I’ll inform you later. But at this time, I can’t yet present any findings. Regarding his [allegedly stolen] property, that is also still under investigation,” Sochet said.

District police chief Duong Teng said the pagoda board committee had reported to authorities that the pagoda chief monk, also known as Rorn, 50, was found dead in an apparent homicide.

Teng said forensic experts went to examine the crime scene and his body at the time of the incident and confirmed that he was murdered. Authorities had questioned potential witnesses and some suspects had already been identified.

“I can’t say anything more because we are in the middle of the investigation process and the murderer is still at large,” he said.

According to the victim’s nephew, Huot Kakkada, a 24-year-old resident of Phnom Touch commune in Kampong Speu province’s Oudong district, Rith was born in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district. Rith never married nor had any children.

Kakkada said Rith had told his relatives that he owned two flats near Morn Arng Market in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district, which he had been renting out.

He said the monk also owned many plots of land with hard titles as well as a significant amount of cash. Following the murder, he said some of Rith’s valuables and land titles appeared to be missing.

Kakkada said that on the morning of December 20, a nun noticed that the chief monk had not come to have breakfast as usual. She then went to check on him in his room and saw that the door was slightly ajar, but she could not open it so she then went to ask for help from another nun.

Once they had managed to open the door they saw right away that the chief monk was dead.

“When the nuns saw this, they shouted for help and alarmed everyone, and the priest then went to the authorities to request an autopsy on his body,” he said.

According to Kakkada, the victim previously considered a man living in Kampong Speu province’s Oudong district as his god-brother, who frequently visited his room in the pagoda.

Kakkada and the rest of the victim’s family called on the police to find the killer and bring them to justice.

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