Police Say Champasack Gold Bracelet Murderer Owed Gambling Debts

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Champasack police observe a crime reenactment
Champasack police observe a crime reenactment.

Police say gambling debts may have motivated a Champasack man to murder a woman on 28 February and steal a gold bracelet.

The incident occurred at Nonghoy Village, Sanasomboun District, Champasack Province, Lao Security News reports.

Authorities were called to the scene after residents found the body of a 44-year-old woman, identified as Mrs. Khammany, a resident of Nonghoy Village.

She had sustained blunt force trauma to the head.

A 23-year-old suspect, identified as Mr. Phetsamone, a resident of Naxone Village, was arrested on the same day.

Mr. Phetsamone admitted that he had known the victim’s daughter since 2017 and that he had visited and slept at the victim’s house on several occasions.

He told police he had suffered from a gambling addiction, racking up unpaid debts of up to LAK 16 million since 2020.

While staying at the victim’s house on 27 February, Mr. Phetsamone noticed Mrs. Khammany wearing a gold bracelet and decided to kill her and steal the bracelet, according to the police report.

He parked his motorbike outside the victim’s house on 28 February at 10:00 am, climbed the fence, and saw Mrs. Khammany working alone in the house. He then attacked her with a piece of wood, beating her over the head until she died.

“After she died, I removed the gold bracelet and rode my bike to Pakse District to sell it for more than LAK 10 million, before being apprehended later that day,” the man added.

Authorities say rising inflation and a high cost of living amid the coronavirus pandemic have hit local people hard, while the price of gold has skyrocketed, with one “baht” of gold (approximately 15.244 grams) reaching over LAK 11 million.

Police urge residents, who often keep their life savings in jewelry and precious metals, not to wear expensive items openly, and instead to store them in a safe place.