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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Koh Pich thief arrested after taking a hostage

Ean Sophea in police custody after his arrest
Ean Sophea in police custody after his arrest on Monday for an armed moto robbery ending in a police chase through Phnom Penh. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Koh Pich thief arrested after taking a hostage

A brazen daylight armed moto robbery on Monday ended with a police chase through the centre of Phnom Penh after the alleged robber took a woman hostage as he fled, military police said yesterday.

Deputy Municipal Military Police commander Khen Sovan said that the suspect was arrested at around 2pm on Monday and was still being interrogated yesterday, but could be sent to court for official charges as soon as today.

“The suspect robbed a girl at Koh Pich and was arrested by military police forces while he was trying to escape. This case will be worked on procedurally by the authorities,” he said.

According to another military police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, suspect Ean Sophea, 26, had first brandished his pistol at a high school student who was driving around Koh Pich and demanded her Honda Scoopy. However, he abandoned the attempt when she began screaming, attracting the attention of numerous onlookers.

Sophea then took off on foot, but stopped nearby to force another woman to surrender her moto. He then took off in the direction of Independence Monument, taking the woman with him as a hostage.

Once he reached the vicinity of the monument, he allowed the woman to leave, and took off again before being surrounded by pursuing police, the official said.

Even after being surrounded, the suspect resisted arrest, sustaining minor injuries, the official added. Police seized a pistol loaded with three bullets, and a holster containing more ammunition.

During interrogation, Sophea reportedly told police that he had been a chef at a luxury hotel in Phnom Penh, but had turned to robbery after being fired and losing his income.

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