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Ex-fugitive admits to mall shooting

Former fugitive Um Soursdey was tried at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday for allegedly shooting a man to death in a botched robbery.
Former fugitive Um Soursdey was tried at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday for allegedly shooting a man to death in a botched robbery. Pha Lina

Ex-fugitive admits to mall shooting

A fugitive who was on the run for 18 months was put on trial yesterday for an aggravated robbery near a mall in Phnom Penh where he allegedly shot a man dead in January.

Um Soursdey, 33, and his accomplice, Chan Daravith, 27, yesterday confessed to the crime of theft, with Soursdey admitting to firing four shots at the victim, Chan Socha, 24, fatally wounding him.

The court heard that the victim’s fiancée had stepped out of their car and approached a house when Daravith and another accomplice, who remains at large, tried to steal her phone and purse. The victim drove his car at the thieves and was shot.

“I shot him because he drove his car to hit me on the foot, then he drove his car into Daravith. I shot him four times from the left of the car,” Soursdey said.

Soursdey was first put behind bars in 2015, when he was sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing a car, using fake number plates and carrying a firearm. Early into his prison term, however, he was sent to hospital for treatment.

He fled from his hospital bed and remained on the loose until the fatal shooting near Sovanna Shopping Centre on January 21.

The victim’s father, Chan Dara, 47, made an emotional plea at the court, saying he did not seek compensation but wanted to see the pair spend the rest of their lives in jail.

Prosecutor Kham Sophary urged Judge Svay Tonh to increase the charge of aggravated theft, which carries a maximum 30-year prison sentence, to premeditated murder and life imprisonment. A verdict is due on Friday.

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