Two foreigners were shot in two separate, brutal mugging incidents that occurred in populous areas in the early evening on Friday and Saturday in Phnom Penh, police said.
On Friday, an unidentified senior American couple was accosted by a group of armed men on the corner of Street 308 and Street 21 in Chamkarmon’s Tonle Bassac commune at about 7pm while walking to pick up dinner, Second Lieutenant Sok Sam Outh, chief of commune police, said.
One day later, Sakiko Takaya Naci, 33, was shot at around 8pm by a pair of armed robbers while shopping at the busy Night Market in Daun Penh’s Wat Phnom commune, according to district police officer Keo Bory.
In Friday's incident, “The husband was shot by the group of robbers because he tried to defend his mobile phone and bag from being stolen. He was shot in the left leg,” Sam Outh said, adding that the victim’s wife was unharmed, but the thieves escaped on motorbikes with the man’s money and phone.
John Vink, a local resident and photographer for Magnum, confirmed by email that police arrived on the scene half an hour after the crime was committed.
“I heard a woman screaming five or six times and then one single shot,” Vink said in an email yesterday.
The couple had frequented Piccola Italia before, an Italian restaurant only 100 metres from where the crime took place, according to Ma Li, an employee at the pizzeria.
“Now, I am worried that because of this insecurity in the city, there [will be] no more foreign people coming to dine or buy pizzas at my restaurant in the future,” Li said.
The US embassy refrained from commenting on Friday's robbery or other specific cases involving American citizens due to the country's Privacy Act.
In Saturday's attack, Naci was touring the night market with her sister when two young men accosted her, according to district police officer Bory.
“The robber shot a bullet into her [Naci’s] left thigh and successfully picked up her bag, which had more than $300 inside it, and managed to escape successfully from the scene,” he told the Post yesterday.
Naci is currently receiving medical treatment for the gunshot wound at Calmette Hospital. The two suspected of the crime have yet to be apprehended, said Major General Rath Sreang, commander of Phnom Penh Municipal Military Police.
“Our military police are still working hard on this case in order to arrest the perpetrators and bring them [to justice],” he said yesterday, declining to provide further details on the case.
Lieutenant General Chuon Sovann, chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Police, and representatives from the Japanese embassy could not be reached for comment.