A deputy police chief in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town was arrested and sent to provincial court on Sunday after fatally shooting a female restaurant owner the previous night in the town’s Ta Pov village.
Provincial court spokesman Tep Phalla said on Sunday that the 30-year-old suspect had been sent to court for questioning.
“A court prosecutor is questioning him and I don’t know when the inquiry will be completed. Whatever the court decides, I will inform in detail,” said Phalla.
Provincial police chief Koeng Khorn identified the victim as Soeun Dane, 38, the owner of Samang Dane Restaurant and a resident of Kampong Seila commune in Kampong Seila district, Preah Sihanouk province.
The victim was shot in the head and was taken to a hospital in Vietnam where she succumbed to critical injuries.
Khorn said the suspect is a deputy police chief at Bavet town who was in charge of anti-drug crimes. The suspect was said to have fired his weapon twice – once in the air and another at the victim’s head – before trying to escape. He was caught shortly after.
“The suspect confessed that he shot the restaurant owner because of her slow service. There was no other issue. Our police questioned him and sent him to court on Sunday,” Khorn said.
Rights group Adhoc’s provincial coordinator Eang Kimly expressed concern over the policeman who was supposed to be prohibited from carrying a firearm outside of active duty. The officer, she said, should have kept his firearm at the station or at a safe place after completing his duty.
“Some officials have a bad habit of intervening [in investigations]. If the suspects are children of the rich and powerful, their release or intervention is sure to happen.
“That’s why gang members rely on the support of powerful people,” she said, as she called on the authorities to take firm action against the suspect so the incident would not be repeated by others.