AMILITARY police officer was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of shooting an unarmed man at his own home in Kampong Speu province after a traffic collision, local police said.
The 31-year-old military police officer allegedly shot 37-year-old Soeun Prasoeu after chasing him to his home in Kampong Speu’s Samrong Tong district following a minor traffic accident in Kandal province, said Svay Yoeun, chief of the Kampong Speu serious crimes bureau.
“We are currently detaining him at our station, and we will send him to court tomorrow,” he said.
Svay Yoeun said the incident began when the officer clipped the back of Soeun Prasoeu’s truck and drew his K-59 pistol during an argument that ensued. Soeun Prasoeu, who was unarmed, returned to his truck and drove home, though the officer chased after him.
When Soeun Prasoeu arrived at his house and got out of his truck, he was shot in the back of the head by the officer, who was arrested shortly thereafter.
Soeun Prasoeu was taken to Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital for treatment, and he remains in a stable condition, Svay Yoeun said.
Though the officer has offered to cover Soeung Prasoeu’s medical expenses and pay damages, officials said Tuesday that he would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“If he wants to pay compensation to the victim, that is fine, but he will still be punished according to the law because he committed a serious crime,” said Klot Pich, director of Kampong Speu provincial court.
Chan Soveth, a monitor for the rights group Adhoc, said a vigorous prosecution would set the case apart from many involving military officials, who he said often go unpunished due to an ingrained culture of impunity.
But Chum Sambath, an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Defence, said Tuesday that there would be no special treatment for the military.
“If soldiers commit crimes, they will be fired from the military fold and punished according to the law. There is equal treatment,” he said.