The Svay Rieng provincial court issued a temporary detention warrant for Keo Vichet, a deputy police chief in Bavet town, and charged him with murder and unauthorised possession of a weapon following the fatal shooting of a restaurant owner in the town’s Ta Pov village on Friday.
The warrant, issued on Sunday by provincial court investigating Judge Chhun Davy, said a provincial prosecutor had already questioned Vichet, who was then placed under court supervision for violating Articles 199 and 490 of the Criminal Code.
Provincial police chief Koeng Khorn identified the victim as Soeun Dane, 38, a resident of Preah Sihanouk’s Kampong Seila commune and the owner of Samang Dane Restaurant.
Dane was shot in the head by Vichet on Friday evening and rushed to a hospital in Vietnam where she eventually died. Vichet was arrested the following day.
“The suspect confessed that he shot the restaurant owner because of her slow service. There was no other issue. Our police questioned him and sent him to court,” said Khorn on Sunday.
Local human rights NGO Licadho provincial coordinator Nuth Bopinaroth said on Monday that he went to the scene to ask restaurant employees and court officials about the incident.
Allegedly, the father of the accused, who is also the town’s police chief, had had a romantic relationship with the victim, which spurred arguments between the victim and the wife, and between the parents of the accused.
“I found out that his father is the police chief in Bavet town and the accused is the deputy police chief. So, they do not fear the law anymore. He holds a high position, so does his father. He thinks he has the power and the rank so he is not afraid of the law,” Bopinaroth claimed.
The accused’s father, Keo Kong, denied allegations of a romantic relationship between him and the deceased.
“I was accused of being in a romantic relationship with the restaurant owner. I have no time to be entangled in a ‘love triangle’. I have never gone to that restaurant. They have just accused me of this,” Kong said.
He said his son was under the influence of alcohol when he went to the restaurant. After being told that his order was unavailable, he got into an argument with the owner which eventually led to the fatal shooting.
“On the day of the incident, I was not in Bavet town. I had a meeting at the provincial police station,” Kong said.