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Cop fronts court for shooting of intruder

A police officer at the Ministry of Interior admitted in court yesterday to firing his gun when an intruder jumped the fence onto his property in January, but denied killing him.

Lieutenant Chea Ratanak faced Phnom Penh Municipal Court accused of the unintentional murder of a man, whose identity has not been revealed, at his Tumnop Teuk commune property in the capital’s Chamkarmon district on January 5.

“I accepted I really fired two bullets up in the air,” Ratanak said. “But I was not aware that somebody who was injured died at hospital.”

Ratanak told the court the shooting occurred after he saw six or seven people in front of his house when he returned home with his wife from a wedding about 10pm.

After the couple had gone inside their house and locked the door, a man jumped over the fence, prompting Ratanak to go back outside and fire into the air, he added.

Ratanak said he tried to report the incident to the local police, but could not reach them. He later reported it to police at the Ministry of Interior.

The judge, Kor Vandy, asked why the victim had been shot dead if Ratanak had shot in the air rather than directly at him.

Prosecutor Ly Sophana said Ratanak had unintentionally murdered the victim.

The victim’s family accepted compensation from Ratanak, Sophana said. However, he urged the court to uphold the charge against him.

A verdict is expected on October 23.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lieng Sarith at sarith.lieng@phnompenhpost.com

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