Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kampong Speu military base is closed after deaths

Kampong Speu military base is closed after deaths

Police tape cordons off the shack used at a shooting range inside a military base in Kampong Speu province, where an explosion killed an Australian man and a Cambodian solider late last week. Authorities say no investigation will be undertaken. Facebook
Police tape cordons off the shack used at a shooting range inside a military base in Kampong Speu province, where an explosion killed an Australian man and a Cambodian solider late last week. Authorities say no investigation will be undertaken. Facebook

Kampong Speu military base is closed after deaths

A Kampong Speu shooting range believed to be the site of a fatal explosion that killed a Cambodian soldier and an Australian tourist late last week has temporarily closed.

The site, called “Cambodian Shooting Range” on Facebook, is marked as being in Kampong Speu province, where a bomb claimed the lives of two people and injured two others on Thursday. Photos featured on the page resemble those from the scene of the tragedy.

When contacted via Facebook, an administrator of the Cambodian Shooting Range page said they were not open.

“All shooting is currently suspended until further notice,” they said. The Facebook page was later removed.

The fatality at the site – which is located inside a military base – will not be investigated, Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said on Monday, saying the incident was a “private matter” between friends.

The shooting range is one of several in Cambodia located on military grounds where tourists can pay to shoot rifles, hurl grenades and fire bazookas. Despite Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak saying the practice was illegal over a decade ago, it continues to thrive.

Evie Pettit, a British tourist, said she and a fellow traveller had booked an excursion to fire weapons in Kampong Speu through the B52 Hostel, and that the hostel promised them a “good discount”. She paid $50 to shoot an M16 rifle, while her friend forked out more to shoot a machine gun and rocket launcher. After the recent tragedy, Pettit said she looked back on the experience “in a totally different way”.

“Now that I look back on it, it didn’t seem very safe at all. I couldn’t see any safety measures for the weapons themselves . . . and where we shot from was literally a shack,” she said, showing photos of the range that also resembled those furnished from the scene of the blast. “We didn’t have protective eyewear either.”

Pettit said a man from the hostel drove the pair to the location and encouraged them to buy beers along the way. The weapons were kept in a cart and Cambodians supervising the shooting range were “drinking brandy and beers”.
Sath Nanthy, an employee at the B52 Hostel in Phnom Penh, said “of course” tourists could pay to shoot guns at a firing range in Kampong Speu.

Prices range from $20 to shoot a handgun to $300 for a rocket launcher, he said.

“Yes it’s safe,” he said. “It’s not really [illegal], because if you want to shoot, you pay.”

He said the two Australians involved in the fatal explosion had not stayed at B52.

MOST VIEWED

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police