A husband is offering $1,000 for the whereabouts of an unofficial suspect he believes murdered his wife inside Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino.
Oeng Chongech, 37, was found dead inside a bathroom on NagaWorld 1’s first floor on January 16, according to one of her employees. Chongech was the owner of a pawnshop inside the casino.
Her husband, Cham Sour, was seen distraught at her funeral two days after the death. “Why did you leave me,” he said at the time, breaking down in tears as he was hugged by family members.
Sour said on Wednesday that Facebook users had been sending him photos from inside the casino of a man who could be a suspect in the case.
He knew that police were investigating, but he wanted justice, and would give $1,000 to anyone who reported the suspect to authorities, he said.
“I don’t want to ask the police anymore since I’ve already done that many times. They are working on it,” Sour said. He had handed the purported suspect’s photo to authorities, and they would be seeing it on social media anyway, he said.
Sour added that someone had also posted online about seeing the suspect departing from the Phnom Penh airport, but he wouldn’t believe it until he saw a photo.
“This is the first broken heart in my life,” he wrote online. “Please help me. If you see the suspect in the photo, please report it to the authorities or to me.”
Tonle Bassac commune police chief Sal Sondos said he had seen the social media photo of the purported suspect, but he could not confirm whether the man was indeed a suspect. The social media users seemed to be “more certain than the police,” Sondos said.
Officers were “burning their arms and legs” in the investigation, he said, but could not provide details.
Phnom Penh Municipal Police spokesperson San Sokseyha said posting photos of people online claiming they were murder suspects could impact police investigations, but people were free to do so. “This is their right,” he said.
However, “posting or showing can make the suspect easily escape,” Sokseyha said, adding that he could not comment on the purported sighting at the airport.
Soeng Senkaruna, spokesman for local human rights group Adhoc, also said that such unconfirmed posts of alleged killers could be unhelpful for police investigations, but was “not wrong.”
“This isn’t wrong,” he said. “However, posting like this isn’t helpful for the victim’s family because it can make the suspect escape.”