A group of Russians opened fire on a Turkish national’s vehicle in Preah Sihanouk province at about 11pm on Thursday night, leaving one Cambodian bystander with a bullet wound to his leg, police have said.
The attack comes just weeks after three people were injured, one with a stab wound, after a violent brawl at Sihanoukville’s Queenco hotel allegedly linked to Russian mafia elements in the province.
Provincial police chief Seang Kosal told the Post on Friday that the attack happened near the Kampong Som City Casino, where his officers found an abandoned Lexus 300 with two bullet holes in it and five shell casings on the ground nearby.
Eyewitnesses reportedly saw a Lexus with no license plates chased down by a group of men in a small sports car, who fired twice into the rear of the vehicle and then repeatedly shot into the sky after the driver had fled.
Police said multiple witnesses had confirmed the attackers were speaking Russian.
“The case was a revenge [attack] that was provoked by a Russian group that attacked a Turkish man who was working at the Canoe Sea Cambodia company, which brings customers from [Preah] Sihanouk [province] to Koh Rong [island],” Kosal said.
Sorn Phala, 27, an employee of the Independence Hotel, was hit in the thigh by a deflected bullet. He is recovering at a local clinic and will be questioned in coming days, Kosal added.
Men Vanny, chief of the Preah Sihanouk police’s minor crimes department identified the target of the attack as Mehmet Tekoglu, who he said was already under investigation for allegedly assaulting an Israeli man on Wednesday.
Tekoglu’s Facebook page states he works for Sea Cambodia.
Outside the provincial police station on Friday, a Post reporter taking photos of a bullet hole in the Lexus was threatened by Tekoglu, who demanded they be deleted. Police then took Tekoglu into custody.
On February 13, a vicious brawl broke out between alleged rival Russian gangs at the offices of Lotus Tours in the Queenco Hotel. Lotus Tours was the official tour operator for the recently cancelled kaZantip music festival.