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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Heist foiled when toy gun breaks

Heist foiled when toy gun breaks

A young money exchange clerk embarrassed a would-be robber who threatened her with what turned out to be a shoddily made toy gun in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district yesterday, said police.

Tuol Svay Prey I commune police chief Pov Pidor said that the Cambodian-American suspect, Choam Chao commune resident Khem Ra, 41, was in the midst of robbing the currency exchange and money transfer business of law student Lao Lichheng, 23, when the plastic gun he was using – much like his plans for the heist – crumbled to pieces in his hand.

According to Pidor, the suspect confessed to brandishing the toy pistol at the shop owner and demanding the money.

However, Pidor continued, when Ra took the threat a step further and pistol-whipped the victim, the plastic toy broke in his hand, prompting Licheng to rush out of the house and call for help.

The suspect then fled across the street into another house and demanded the owner keep quiet, he added.

“The suspect caused no injury to the [currency exchange store] owner, but ordered me not to charge him [in exchange for coming out of the house],” said Pidor, who pretended to agree to the suspect’s terms.

“Then, I followed him and made the arrest,” he said, adding that Ra had decided to rob the money transfer store – of which he was a repeat customer – after losing his money gambling.

Pidor said that Ra had been deported from the US three months ago for multiple run-ins with the authorities.  

The suspect is due to be sent to court today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Sarom at newsroom@phnompenhpost.com

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