A 24-year-old man is set to face court today after destroying a Cambodian People’s Party billboard in Battambang province during a rampage on Wednesday night, which ended when officers released a volley of gunfire into the air.
It was about 7pm in Kam Rieng district when suspect Phat Sopheap, armed with a sword and rifle and shouting loudly, zeroed in on the sign featuring headshots of Prime Minsiter Hun Sen and National Assembly President Heng Samrin, according to Hang Mey, chief of Village 18.
“He shouted and then climbed up the billboard, which he then toppled to the ground. He then started to tear it apart,” said Mey, who said the act did not appear to be politically motivated.
“He was angry with his girlfriend,” recalled Mey, who said he called in backup as Sopheap began threatening villagers with the sword. “The police shot in the air many times, they emptied half of their magazines. He then put down the sword and was arrested,” he said.
Commune Chief Vong Kuor said Sopheap did not appear to know how to use the automatic rifle he had been wielding.
“The reasons [for his outbust] were not clear,” Kuor added. “Some said because he was drunk, some said he used drugs and was upset because he was rejected for an engagement.”
Chet Vanny, deputy Battambang provincial police chief, said Sopheap would face court this morning. Separately, police in Kampong Speu said they were still searching for a woman who threw her shoe at a CPP billboard in Sihanoukville in early April.