DPA, Dec. 6, 2002
Phnom Penh – Authorities have accused two Cambodian monks of strangling a motorbike taxi driver with one of their robes and stealing his motorbike, police said.
The two monks, from Peamkoh Sna pagoda in Kompong Cham province, about 200km north-east of Phnom Penh, allegedly hired the driver to take them to neighbouring Kratie province and killed him along the way, police said.
“When I first received this information I didn’t believe it was a true story,” said chief of Kompong Cham province police Kong Sakhorn. “But later after I made an investigation, I found that the two monks apparently did kill this man.”
“It is the first time I have ever seen monks even commit robbery,” he said.
Police said they found the body of Kak Len, 23, and a piece of the robe allegedly used in the strangling next to the road on Sunday, one day after the incident.
In the past criminals have posed as monks to commit crimes, but authorities said the two suspects in the strangling had been identified and were real monks.
The incident occurred as Cambodia prepared to host the Third World Buddhism Conference in the capital. About 1 500 Buddhist leaders and practitioners were expected to arrive in Phnom Penh for the December 5-7 event.