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Man fronts court over toy gun robbery

A man charged with assault with aggravating circumstances stood trial at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday for allegedly attempting to steal a motorbike last year using a toy gun.

Sambath Sophea, 35, was arrested in January 2015 in Tuol Kork district after he pointed a toy pistol at a motodop and demanded the vehicle. He was subsequently apprehended by civilians and held until police came.

“You hit the motodop in the neck and pointed your [toy] gun at him. Then the moto owner shouted ‘thief, thief’ and you were arrested right away,” judge Heng Sokha told the accused yesterday.

Sophea confessed his guilt. “I confessed when the police arrested me, and at the court. But I would like to correct one point”, Sophea said. “I did not hit the motorbike owner. I just pointed the gun that I bought for 5,000 riel (about $1.25). Then people chased and arrested me.”

When asked why he broke the law, Sophea said his wife, a garment worker, was three months pregnant at the time and he could not find work to support her. The verdict is due on September 8.

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