Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cambodia: Californian, 55, Traveling Solo, Found Murdered on Koh Rong Island

According to The Phnom Penh Post, Preah Sihanouk provincial police have concluded that a US tourist, Californian Katherine Ann Grgich, 55, found dead on the island of Koh Rong in early October, was actually murdered.

Kol Phally, the provincial deputy police chief, told the Post that an investigation has determined the the American was murdered and a suspect identified.

Ms. Grgich disappeared on September 28, 2013.
COMMENT: On September 30, Grgich's body was found in a forest three kilometers (1.8 miles) away from the guesthouse where she was staying with injuries to the back and front of her head, Sarath Vichea, provincial technical police head, stated. 

I strongly discourage inexperienced foreign travelers from traveling solo and in particular urge against staying  in poorly secured "guesthouses" on out-of-the-way islands.

Although the term "guesthouse" is a nebulous term that offers little in the way of a clarification of how secure the "guesthouse" is. Yet, most "guesthouses" are ill-defined in terms of the formidable construction and security of exterior door and window deterrents. 

Consequently, particularly for women traveling alone, it is essential that they ask for exterior photos of "guesthouses" that focus on exterior door and window security. Any indicators of open windows or flimsy doors or doors and windows that cannot be locked or secured from the interior would suggest a lack of effective personal security awareness.

Clearly, in light of Ms. Grgich's body being found only three kilometers ( from her "guesthouse," it is impossible to know whether

Koh Rong is the second largest island in Cambodia. Contrary to widespread Western belief, its name does not translate to "Monkey Island." The Khmer word "rong or rung" actually means "cave." Located in Koh Kong Province about 25 kilometers off the Sihanoukville's coast in the Gulf of Thailand, the island has an area of approximately 78 kilometers and 43 kilometers of beaches. The island is also home to more than a dozen guesthouses and bungalows, many of them foreign-owned. The island is part of the Koh Rong archipelago. Like most of its neighboring islands, Koh Rong has had a land concession granted by the Cambodian government. The Royal Group has been granted a 99-year lease and has plans to build "Asia’s first environmentally planned resort island." The island’s interior is almost completely forested.