A stand-off between 150 police and four armed robbers who stole 20 damlung of gold continued yesterday evening in the jungle near the popular tourist site of Kbal Chhay.
On Wednesday afternoon, bandits used AK-47s to hold up a gold vendor in the Klaing Leur market, some 10 kilometres from Sihanoukville.
The gunmen took 20 damlung – worth about $42,000 – of gold and jewellery before shooting the store owner’s son in the stomach and forcing a motodop to hand over his moto as a getaway vehicle.
Shots were fired into the air as the four robbers drove off, terrifying onlookers, a local policeman reported.
Preah Sihanouk deputy police chief Kol Phally said a joint military and civil police deployment was searching the large forested area near Kbal Chhay waterfall, where the men were believed to have fled after the crime.
As of yesterday evening, however, the four had evaded the large-scale effort to root them out of hiding.
“We have been hunting them since yesterday, but still cannot find them and arrest them,” Kol said.
Sboang Sarath, governor of the coastal province of Preah Sihanouk, said security in the popular tourist town had been boosted after the incident, but that visitors appeared not to be concerned by the violent robbery.
Preah Sihanouk tourism department director Teng Kha said authorities had taken strong action in response to the incident and that it was unlikely tourism would be affected.
The shooting victim was released from the hospital yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at [email protected]