A Cambodian man has been arrested for purportedly murdering a Vietnamese motorbike taxi (xe om) driver in an incident where he claimed to have acted out of self-defense.
Colonel Luu Thanh Tin, deputy director of the police department in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, confirmed on Sunday that officers had apprehended Soc Tha, a 64-year-old Cambodian national.
Tha, a temporary resident in Kien Giang, was captured when he was staying in Cambodia, according to Tin.
The murder suspect was escorted to Kien Giang for investigation on Saturday, Tin added.
The incident happened at around 9:00 pm on January 22, when Tha had a Vietnamese motorbike taxi driver named L. carry him to a friend’s house in My Thuan Commune, Hon Dat District, according to his statement.
After negotiation, the driver and passenger agreed that the ride would cost VND70,000 (US$3).
But upon arriving at the destination, Tha found out that his friend was not at home, thus he asked L. to take him to another place.
Moments into the second journey, the driver demanded that Tha pay him for the first trip.
L. wanted VND170,000 ($7.3) instead of VND70,000, explaining that he had previously quoted the wrong price, citing differences between “daytime and nighttime fares.”
As Tha refused to pay, the driver requested that he get off his vehicle, sparking an argument between them.
As they were quarreling, the driver pulled out a knife and attacked Tha, according to the Cambodian man’s account.
The passenger managed to disarm his attacker. When L. ran away from the scene, Tha chased after him and cut his throat with the victim’s own weapon.
Tha dumped the body in a roadside ditch and rode L.’s motorbike to nearby An Giang Province. He then abandoned the vehicle and headed to Cambodia.
The suspect insisted that his action was self-defense.
Kien Giang police said further investigation is ongoing, adding that the suspect was convicted of murder in 2011 by the provincial People’s Court and had served a seven-year jail term.