Man Arrested Over Murder of Rubber Farmer

A man has been arrested for his alleged role in the killing of a landowner following a dispute over a boundary at a rubber plantation in Ratanakkiri province, dep­uty provincial police chief Phen Dina said Tuesday.

Sok Na, 48, who was arrested on Monday evening at a guesthouse in Banlung City, admitted to having a boundary dispute with the slain man, Te Mov Se, 51, but denied involvement in the murder.

“We arrested him on suspicion of premeditated murder…and we be­lieve there is more than one person involved in the crime,” Mr. Dina said.

“The suspect had a problem with the victim about a month ago,” Mr. Dina added.

Details confirming the alleged dispute could not be ascertained Tuesday.

Te Mov Se moved to Ratanakkiri from Phnom Penh two years ago to manage a 300-hectare rubber plantation in O’Chum district. He was found dead next to his tractor at 11 a.m. on Monday. Police said he had been shot once in the chest with an AK-47 assault rifle.

Mean Prum Mony, an investigator for local rights group Adhoc who visited the murder scene, said someone had broken nine rubber trees as a ploy to lure the victim to the spot where he was killed.

“Mr. Se had a lot of disputes with villagers a few years ago,” Mr. Prum Mony said, explaining that villagers accused the land-owner of encroaching on their property with his rubber plantation.

Adhoc provincial coordinator in Ratanakkiri, Chhay Thy, described the victim as a “rich man,” but doubted robbery was a motive for murder.

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