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Police arrest suspected shooter

Police arrest suspected shooter

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Suspected killer Lay Vannak, 31, is escorted by police at the Interior Ministry yesterday.

A former police official at the Daun Penh district penal office was arrested on Saturday in connection with a brutal murder and robbery in the capital last Sunday that was captured on a security camera and circulated on the internet, officials said yesterday.

At a press conference at the Ministry of Interior, Mok Chito, director of the ministry’s penal police, identified 31-year-old Lay Vanak as a suspect in the shooting of 54-year-old money changer Chhuon Theara.

He added that police were still searching for two suspects visible in the video who were alleged accomplices in the robbery of more than US$30,000 from gold seller Chhuon Theara.

“Initially, after watching the video, I suspected a member of the victim’s family to be responsible for the crime, but after the investigation leading to the arrest of Lay Vanak, I have concluded that none of the victim’s relatives are responsible,” Mok Chito said.

Chhuon Theara was shot three times in the chest in Dangkor district’s Choam Chao commune while driving back to her house after exchanging money at the Olympic market.

Her 21-year-old son, a passenger on her motorbike during the robbery, was not injured. Video footage of the shooting, captured on a nearby security camera, has been widely circulated on social media websites.

Mok Chito said that Lay Vanak was arrested at his mother’s house in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district and that he had identified the two remaining suspects while in police custody. Police had not yet located the weapon used in the shooting, but had confiscated four million riel (US$10,000), three homemade rifles, and a sword from the suspect, Mok Chito added.

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