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Man grilled over death of official in hit-and-run

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A screenshot from a security camera at the scene shows a black Lexus RX300 crashed into the back of the victim's Ford vehicle, causing some damage on December 29, 2020. Police

Man grilled over death of official in hit-and-run

Phnom Penh municipal police are questioning a man after arresting him in connection with the shooting death of a senior police official from the municipal police’s minor crime bureau on December 29.

Police are also searching for a second suspect they believe was involved in the case, which stemmed from a hit-and-run. The suspect in custody was arrested in Battambang province on January 4.

Phnom Penh municipal police spokesman San Sok Seiha declined to provide details, citing an ongoing investigation.

“I can’t comment on this case [yet]. We must wait and allow police to finish [proper] procedures first,” he said.

The victim is identified in the police report as Reth Sineth, 40, a deputy chief of the municipal police’s minor crime bureau. Sineth was shot in the back through to the front and from forehead through to the back.

Ngeng Chou, the head of the National Police’s criminal police department, said the suspect, Ke Chanmean, 24, was the driver of the get-away car rather than the actual shooter. Chanmean resided in Ansa commune’s Anlong Vil village in Pursat province’s Kandieng district.

“We’ve caught the driver now, but we’re still searching for the shooter,” he said.

Chou told a local media outlet that during questioning, Chanmean said he was driving the alleged shooter – whom he identified only as Ren – home in a Lexus crossover after drinking heavily on the night of December 29.

When arriving at the scene, Chanmean rear-ended Sineth’s Ford pick-up truck and fled, prompting him to give chase.

After pulling them over, Sineth exited his vehicle holding a gun, which he fired into the roadside in front of Chanmean’s car. Sineth and Chanmean argued briefly and upbraided each other with insulting language until Ren became angry and told Chanmean to stay quiet.

Then Sineth proceeded to demand restitution from the pair for his damaged vehicle. It was at this point, according to Chanmean, that Ren pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot Sineth. He then told Chanmean to drive away from the scene.

The two apparently split up at some point after that and Chanmean was later arrested alone in Battambang province’s Tuol Ta Ek commune, according to the Battambang provincial police report.

He was then transported back to Phnom Penh where he remains in custody and under questioning while the search continues for the alleged shooter.

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