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Police release one held over capital shooting

People gather around the site of a police investigation in Phnom Penh last week where three people were shot.
People gather around the site of a police investigation in Phnom Penh last week where three people were shot. Victoria Mørck Madsen

Police release one held over capital shooting

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday released a suspect being held over the shooting deaths of three people – one of them a village chief – during a fight in the capital’s Tuol Svay Prey I commune last week, a court official said yesterday.

Chamkarmon district police chief Yin San said yesterday that Keo Sovannara – the brother of police officer Keo Sovannarith, who is suspected of shooting village chief Chuk Lay, his son and his nephew – had been called to court for questioning yesterday while his brother is still in hospital. However, he said, he was unaware whether the court would move to charge him.

Prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth could not be reached yesterday, but a court official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that after the interrogation, Sovannara was freed by the court, which had determined that “he was not a suspect in the shooting on the day of the incident”.

According to Pov Pidor, police chief of Tuol Svay Prey I, Sovannarith and Lay, the village chief, had argued over a contribution for a public street lamp, at which point Lay called his son and nephew – Lay Bunthoeun and Bun Rithy, respectively – for help.

The pair arrived carrying swords and attacked Sovannarith, slashing him in the head, shoulder, hand and back, while Sovannara fled inside.

Sovannarith then drew his gun and shot all three men, Pidor said, with two dying at the scene and another dying later at Calmette Hospital.

According to Pidor, Lay’s family has yet to file an official complaint, and it is unknown whether Sovannarith will be charged over the shooting.

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