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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Car thieves bite the bullet - swiftly

Car thieves bite the bullet - swiftly

car1.jpg
car1.jpg

Key-waving

Australian Embassy First Secretary Sue McWalter, above, and her husband pose in celebratory

mood with local police chiefs (Major Ly Rasy, left, and Heng Pov, right) after they

recovered her embassy vehicle, only a few hours after she reported it stolen from

outside a private function.

It was only when McWalter read the local Khmer papers next day that she realised

how brutally efficient the police can be in Phnom Penh: the two young car jackers,

left, allegedly had been summarily executed sitting in the car, by close-range pistol

shots to the head.

Witnesses were quoted as saying that a plainclothes officer approached the car and,

ignoring the two men's pleas for mercy, shot them both. Despite claims by police

that the criminals had shot first, witnesses said they saw no sign that the men were

armed.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Khieu Sopheak, said spiraling crime rates

in the capital meant tough measures were the order of the day, and that he supported

the police handling of the case.

"This is very good because police cracked down on daylight robbery. This is

the way the police make Cambodia secure," Sopheak said. "Police didn't

want to kill them. They opened fire first. I encourage police to arrest and not to

kill if they can, but that is not always possible."

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