A Phnom Penh policeman yesterday admitted shooting dead a father and his teenage son during an argument, but said at his trial that he did not mean to kill them.
Meas Vongsaneath, 44, appeared at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged with the murder of Long Hun, 47, and Long Lyheng, 16, in the capital’s Sen Sok district last July.
The prosecution alleged that the Sen Sok district policeman had become embroiled in an argument with the family after Long Hun looked at the policeman’s face while driving his motorbike in Rong Chak village.
“The suspect stopped his motorbike and jumped off in order to beat the victim in front of his house. Their family members started to help in hand-to-hand fighting,” said deputy prosecutor Phlong Sophal.
After about 20 minutes of fighting the two parties were separated and returned home, he said.
Five minutes later, however, the policeman is accused of bursting into the victim’s home with an AK-47.
“He shot a total of four bullets. First, he had shot at Long Lyheng. He died immediately. Secondly, he shot Ou Soy, Long Lyheang’s mother, while she was running to carry her son away. She was injured at her right arm.
“Thirdly, he shot at Long Hun who was lying in his bed inside his house. He was shot in his back and died after he had sent to the hospital,” said Phlong Sophal. The policeman is then thought to have hidden his gun at a friend’s house and then went to hide in his office. He was arrested one hour later.
Taking the stand in court yesterday, Meas Vongsaneath confessed to shooting the family but denied the deaths were intentional.
“I decided to shoot them because they [the victims] had beaten me, my wife and my son.
“They had taken my house keys and also tried to take the gun from my hand. I shot at them in order to defend myself,” he said.
“I had no intention to kill them. I would like to ask the court to change my charge from intentional murder to unintentional murder, and reduce my sentence.”
Widow Ou Soy – who yesterday denied a separate charge against her of injuring Meas Vongsaneath during an argument – blasted him at court as a “very cruel” man who was proud of his position in the police force and his weapon.
“I ask the court to strongly punish him by the law and order him to pay a total of 200 million riel [about US$50,000] in compensation for my son and husband who were killed by his shots,” she said.
Presiding Judge Ker Sakhorn said a verdict was due on July 1.
“He was a policeman who had duties to provide security, safety and public order for people in his district. But he created arguments with his neighbours and used a gun to kill two people who had made no mistakes,” added the judge.