Disgraced Poipet immigration officer Chhean Pisith was fired from the police force yesterday after he allegedly shot a colleague at a border office on Saturday and absconded, months after he was ridiculed online for faking being hit by a local union leader’s car that appeared to be stationary.
Pisith’s employment with the Ministry of Interior was terminated by Minister Sar Kheng, who released a statement stripping him of his rank, salary and incentives, and ordering that he be sent to court.
“He has fled and is now outside Cambodia. We are cooperating with police of other countries to arrest him after the court issued an arrest warrant,” said ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak.
The firing stemmed from a verbal conflict and name calling incident between two of Pisith’s colleagues – Nov Lyda and Kim Reaksa – on Friday, when the latter hurled an insult at Lyda over the stamping of passports.
The argument continued into Saturday, this time almost leading to a physical altercation between the two, according to a report filed by Sim Sam Arth, immigration police chief at the Poipet checkpoint.
The report goes on to say that Sem Makara, chief administrator for the checkpoint, called for a meeting with Reaksa and Lyda on Saturday to resolve the dispute, but instead Pisith walked in with Reaksa and began to hurl insults at him.
Pisith then proceeded to pull out a gun and cock it, causing Makara to leave the room seeking intervention from Sam Arth in a nearby office. However, Pisith allegedly shot at him, hitting the epaulet on his shirt and grazing the skin on his shoulder, before his gun was taken away by Reaksa and the border chief.
Sam Arth confirmed most details of the incident, but did not say how Pisith escaped after the shooting. “The firing did happen. I just came out and asked what happened? Then there was firing. But I cannot give more details,” he said.
Makara refused to comment on the incident, only to point to a complaint he filed with the Banteay Meanchey court relaying the incident.
Consequently, a Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court summons was issued against Pisith for attempted murder and illegal use of a weapon, with court prosecutor Sok Keo Bandith saying an arrest warrant was already in place.
“Actually, there was no need a warrant if it is red-handed. Prosecutors in such cases can order police to arrest him,” he said.
Pisith’s “flopping” incident went viral on Facebook in December after a video showed that the car, belonging to local union leader Mang Puthy, was not moving when Pisith plunged to the ground in front of it. Puthy was charged for aggravated intentional violence but later released on bail.