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Bodyguard charged in drunken shooting

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court has charged an officer in the Interior Ministry’s bodyguard unit in connection with the shooting of a 27-year-old man in Meanchey district following a round of heavy drinking on Friday, a official said Tuesday.

Ung Dara, 37, had been drinking for several hours on Friday afternoon when he allegedly got into an argument with and ended up shooting his friend, 27-year-old So Chanthet, who was taken to Calmette Hospital.

The officer was arrested later that night while visiting So Chanthet in hospital, after police were tipped off by hospital staff members, said Chum Savuth, the police chief of Meanchey district’s Chak Angre Leu commune, where the shooting occurred.

“We arrested that man from the hospital while he was visiting his injured friend after attacking him that evening,” he said. “I saw that the victim was suffering from a serious injury on his back, and that both of them were deeply drunk. The group had spent about three hours drinking wine and beers together.”

Koeur Bunnara, a deputy prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said Tuesday that Ung Dara had been charged late Monday and placed in pre-trial detention.

“I charged him yesterday with two charges of intentional battery and using an illegal weapon, and I have sent the suspect to an investigating judge for further investigation under two charges. He will be serving pretrial detention this evening.”

He said the charge of intentional battery carried a potential prison term of between one and five years, and using an illegal weapon could lead to an additional six months to two years behind bars along with a fine of between 500,000 riels and 2 million riels (US$118-$473).

He added that Ung Dara had confessed to the shooting, and that he had been unable to produce a licence for his gun.

“That’s why I charged him with using an illegal weapon, even though he is a police official at the Interior Ministry’s bodyguard department,” he said.

A staff member at the administration section of Calmette Hospital who identified himself only as Yunny said that So Chanthet had been transferred “from the emergency room to the operating room” and was scheduled to undergo an operation, though he declined to elaborate further.



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