The chief of police in Prey Veng town’s Svay Anthor district was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after allegedly shooting in the head an unarmed man who was holding a baby during a raid on a cockfight.
Sreng Chea, Prey Veng provincial police chief, said yesterday that suspect Pum Kann had attempted to explain away the shooting, saying he had only taken out his gun to fire a shot in the air.
“However, his answer seems not to be consistent with wound on the victim; the bullet went through from one temple to the other,” Chea said. “Generally, if you take a shot in the air, the bullet cannot hit the victim in a straight line like that."
Chea said that Kann may have intended to fire into the air, but likely had his finger on the trigger as he drew, and fired prematurely.
However, witness Yem Voeun, 39, said yesterday that Kann had been approaching the cockfight with his gun already drawn. Voeun fled when he saw the gun, and looked back when heard the shot a moment later.
“After that, the police chief and other police turned back, and a woman ran towards him and grabbed his collar, shouting loudly ‘pay back my husband’s life, you murderer,’” he said.
Another witness, Ton Ly, who claimed to have seen the actual shooting, maintained it was no accident.
“He walked towards the cockfighting compound with the gun in his hand – that dispersed the people away – and then he took a shot,” Ly said.
“The victim fell down on his chest with his child in his hands; the child was injured in the face.”
Provincial military police official Khem Yul said that “according to the interrogation, and the collection of answers from the wife and witnesses, and the evidence, the bullet casing from a K54, the suspect will not be able to escape imprisonment”.
Kem Ly, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that he was monitoring the case as it develops.