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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police, military official exchange fire in Phnom Penh

Police, military official exchange fire in Phnom Penh

Anti-drug police exchanged fire with a member of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) during a raid on his villa in Phnom Penh’s Toul Svay Prey commune yesterday, officials said.

The suspect, RCAF Lieutenant Colonel Keo Saroeun, 52, was hit in the leg during the shootout.

Once it ended, police stormed the besieged villa near the Chinese Embassy and found two kilograms of heroin, two pistols and a hunting rifle.

Saroeun and his wife were both arrested, as were two more suspects in the citywide operation.

The anti-drug police at the scene did not talk or give information except to say that the operation wasn’t over.

Khieu Samon, director of the Anti-Drug Department at the Ministry of Interior, said the crackdown was the result of a months-long operation.

He said his forces only shot at Saroeun because he fired first.

“We suspect that it’s a big drug trafficking [scheme] to import overseas,” he said.

The crackdown brought together anti-drug police and prosecutors, who fanned out across the city at a total of four locations. Police only named Saroeun among the suspects.

Ly Pou, chief of Toul Svay Prey commune, said Saroeun moved to live in this villa at his commune two years ago, and that he didn’t know much about him.

“I know only he’s military official, and his villa is nice because inside it is decorated with luxurious wood,” he said.


To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at



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