Prey Veng provincial police detained Ba Phnom district deputy police chief Seang Bunnal in connection with a shooting on April 15 that seriously injured a man and took place while police were raiding the location of a cockfighting event in Kruos village of Chhoeu Kach commune.

Prey Veng deputy police chief Prak Chanthet sent an April 17 letter to National Police chief Neth Savoeun detailing the situation. The letter, obtained by The Post on April 18, reads that Ba Phnom district deputy police chief Seang Bunnal led three Ba Phnom district police officers on the raid on April 15.

While the police officers were in the village for routine patrol activities, local residents informed them that there was a cockfight going on nearby, which under the law is a form of animal cruelty and unauthorised gambling and is illegal in Cambodia. The officers went to the location identified and discovered a crowd of people there gathered for the event.

“As soon as they saw the police officers, the gamblers all tried to run away, while the deputy police chief Seang Bunnal pulled out his pistol to force them to stop, but they continued to flee.

“Later, Bunnal caught one 36-year-old man named San Vicheka who had initially escaped on a motorcycle. A scuffle ensued, which knocked over the motorcycle and caused Bunnal’s gun to accidentally discharge and the bullet struck the suspect in his mid-section,” the letter said.

Chanthet said that Bunnal was being detained while the incident was investigated and had been placed under the supervision of the provincial police. Bunnal’s district police chief also sent officers to investigate the situation.

However, Prey Veng provincial court prosecutor Kuch Kimlong told The Post on April 18 that until the case was referred to provincial court – if it was determined that a crime was committed – he was unable to take further action or comment in detail on it.

“Currently, the case is still under investigation by the police. This case has not reached Prey Veng provincial court yet,” he said.

However, Suon Saroeurn, the mother of San Vicheka, told The Post that at this time her son is being treated at Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital and will soon undergo surgery to have the bullet removed from his body.

“Doctors told me to prepare my heart in advance because the condition of my son after the surgery may mean there is very little hope for him. If he is still alive, he will be disabled for life,” she said.

Citing the doctors, Saroeurn said that her son’s wound was very serious because the bullet lodged in his liver. She further said that Vicheka’s wife just gave birth 25 days ago and the entire family is still in shock after being informed that he may die or become disabled permanently.