A lawyer who shot and injured a man on Monday night at a noodle shop was charged yesterday with intentional acts of violence and unauthorised holding or transporting of weapons, although questions remained as how he came into possession of the handgun, why he had a gun licence and why, despite that licence, he is being charged with illegal weapons possession.
Police say 35-year-old lawyer Ith Pisithraingsey fired two rounds and hit one man in the foot in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on Monday.
But how Pisithraingsey came into possession of a handgun, let alone a licence, remained unclear yesterday. Chin Malin, spokesman of the Justice Ministry, said people can apply to the Ministry of Interior for permission to own a gun for self-defence.
“The decision to permit individuals or not to permit depends on the ministry and institutions, but the user needs to take responsibility before the law, in case it causes danger to other people,” he said.
However, National Police spokesman Kith Chantharith said that the general public does not have the right to own a gun unless they are civil servants ranking at the general department director level or higher.
“For the armed forces, they can use the weapon . . . After the mission, the weapon needs to be returned to the unit,” Chantharith said.
Pisithraingsey faces up to three years in prison for the weapons charge and five years for the intentional violence charge. Court spokesman Ly Sophanna was unable to comment on the charges.