In what police say was a callous and likely calculated attack, a 36-year-old woman was shot dead in broad daylight as she drove her mother through Phnom Penh traffic on a motorbike yesterday morning.
Witnesses say they saw two helmeted men on a motorbike ride up alongside the victim, Kim Socheata, and her mother at about 9am in Por Sen Chey’s Kakab commune. As both motorbikes continued along the road, the men appeared to hesitate before the man riding pillion opened fire on the victim, striking her and knocking her to the road. She died at the scene.
“I was so shocked when the victim fell unconscious in front of me after I heard so many gunshots,” said Suong Sophorn, 46, who lives nearby. “I saw – and heard – their loud motorbike speed from the scene.”
Sophorn said she had at first suspected the two men intended to rob the women of jewellery, but noticed they made no attempt to steal anything. She believed the perpetrators knew their victim.
“They at first seemed reluctant to shoot, in case they might have mistaken the identity, but then they shot her. I wonder about this, because it is so cruel,” she said.
A second witness recounted a similar story to a Post reporter; however, neither could give detailed descriptions of the suspects. With helmets mostly obscuring the faces of both men, their most distinguishing feature was that they rode a large black motorcycle.
Yim Saran, Por Sen Chey district police chief, said officers were still piecing together what had happened and indicated that they had few leads.
“Journalists know already that it is a shooting,” he said when asked about details of the case, including the type of gun used.
He added, however, that officers had found bullet casings near the body that suggested six bullets were fired. The victim, medical tests confirmed, was shot twice – in the ribs and above one of her knees, he said.
“Police suspect it is a case of planned spite, but we are not able to conclude whether it is the result of a love triangle,” Saran added.