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‘Accidental’ gunfire hits Phnom Penh trash picker

A 49-year-old trash collector was shot by a gun “accidentally triggered” as it was scooped up from where it had fallen during a road chase between two groups in the capital’s Daun Penh district yesterday, according to witnesses who spoke to the victim’s husband.

Chaktomuk commune police chief Chuob Sokun, confirmed that 49-year-old Rom Phoen – who is now out of danger – was shot in the right shoulder on Pasteur Street at about 5:30am and sent to hospital, though could offer few concrete details about what had transpired.

But Phoen’s husband, Chhum Hout, 39, said yesterday that two witnesses had seen a car chasing two motorbikes, causing one of them to fall over and a gun to drop from the hand of a man on the moto.

“When [the man] picked the gun up, it [was] triggered and . . . hit my wife,” Hout said the observers had told him.

“I do not have money to pay hospital bills because we are scavengers,” he added.

Sokun could only confirm that a gun had fallen onto the street and that investigations were ongoing.

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