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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Moonlighting soldier shoots factory worker, escapes justice

Moonlighting soldier shoots factory worker, escapes justice

"We asked: 'Why didn’t you arrest him? Where does he live?' They said they didn't know. We are very angry."

A FUGITIVE soldier who shot a worker on July 31 while moonlighting as a CSSA security guard at an energy drink factory outside Phnom Penh is hiding in Kampong Speu province, police say, while his employer and its client deny responsibility.

Dy Sothearith clipped Ngeth Nith, 26, in the right shoulder with a shot from his handgun, as the worker attempted to enter the Toyo factory premises in Dangkao district's Choam Chao commune shortly before his night shift began, the victim and witnesses said Wednesday. Ngeth Nith said he was going for a drink of water, which the security guard inexplicably opposed.

"Dy Sothearith is a soldier with Brigade 70, but he asked to work for my company at night. We have more than 1,000 security guards, and none of them carries a gun," said Rin Sony, general manager for CSSA.

"What happened that night, it was done by Sothearith, so he is responsible. Let the police investigate, and, if he is guilty, punish him."

Rin Sony said CSSA is owned by Leng Ho, a senior official in the Ministry of Interior who formerly served as director of the Serious Crimes Department and now oversees police training.

Toyo procurement officer Sok Visal said, "We paid the [CSSA's] fee, but we don't know about [Dy Sothearith]. It's the security company's problem."

Toyo's Singaporean boss, who answered to Mr Vy, argued Wednesday that because the shooter belongs to Brigade 70 he had the right to carry a gun, a point police denied.

"It is illegal for security guards to have guns, but the factory owner does not cooperate with us," Dangkao District Police Chief Born Sam Ath said.

He added that he expects to bring Dy Sothearith to justice. "He's been hiding in Kampong Speu since the incident."

Meanwhile, the victim is unable to earn his usual US$52 a month. "The police asked me to accept US$1,000 [in compensation], but I declined because I've already lost more than that," Ngeth Nith said. "If it was $1,000, the police would take some and it would be finished.

"I'm poor. I don't have money to buy justice at the court."

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