Provincial authorities are looking for a man who they say tried to scare officials inspecting his land in Kandal province by shooting into the ground.
Sa’ang District Police Chief Seng Socheat said no one was injured, but that National Police Chief Neth Savoeun had asked authorities to bring the man in to see if he had a gun licence. Police found 20 bullet casings at the scene that Socheat said appeared to belong to a hunting rifle. “When the authorities arrived, we didn’t see the man,” Socheat said. “He was not at the scene.”
Yos Monirath, spokesman of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said the man had permission to excavate soil used for backfill at the site but that he dug farther than permitted. Shortly after officials from the ministry visited him and asked him to stop, the man opened fire, according to Monirath.
“His identity is not clear,” Monirath said. “The permit for the digging site is under his wife.”
Monirath said it appeared the man was trying to intimidate the officials to prevent them from inspecting the site in Sa’ang district’s Svay Ralum commune.
Deputy Provincial Police Chief Eurn Nara declined to comment, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.
Phnom Penh municipal authorities are trying to enforce a longstanding ban on soil-digging operations in the capital, but they are still legal in Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces.