On the second day of hearings trying Chhouk Bandith, one witness testified that the former Bavet town governor was responsible for shooting three female garment workers at a demonstration last year, while another said he helped the suspect escape.
Despite the absence of both Bandith and his lawyer, 10 witnesses took to the stand yesterday. Long Phorn, deputy Prasat commune police chief, told the court he was metres away from his former boss when the shootings occurred.
“When I heard two to three shots, I rushed to take a look and saw Chhouk Bandith shooting workers. I also saw a girl vomiting blood who then collapsed, with a young man running to help her,” he said.
After that, Bandith shot four more times into the crowd until his gun stopped working and could have killed many workers, he added. “If Chhouk had not run away after shooting [the workers], he would have been beaten to a pulp.
Deputy Bavet town military police commander Reach Chomnith said that, upon hearing gunshots, he rushed to the scene and saw Bandith shoot into the air, though he did not see him hit anyone.
“Then he shot a second time [before] his gun stopped working,” he said, adding he then helped Bandith escape through a back road.
Chea Sina, deputy Bavet town police chief, told the court that he repaired Bandith’s gun after Chomnith failed to do so.
“The gun belongs to the Bavet town governor. I am the person who repaired his gun and the person who [helped] him to climb a fence,” he said.
Despite the claim, some witnesses in court yesterday maintained Bandith’s innocence.
Bandith could not be reached yesterday and again did not appear at court.