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Publisher being held over shooting claim

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Chhoum Sitha, publisher of the Dom Noeng Kampuchea, poses for his mugshot in Siem Reap on Wednesday. facebook

Publisher being held over shooting claim

The publisher of the Dom Noeng Kampuchea newspaper has been charged and placed in provisional detention by the Siem Reap Provincial Court.

Days earlier, he was arrested near Svay Leu Thmey market in the province’s Svay Leu district, for allegedly firing a shotgun and threatening a military officer allegedly known for trading in timber.

Court spokesman Yin Srang said the accused, Chhoum Sitha, 55, has been charged with illegal use of weapons and threatening others. The charges, under articles 490 and 332 of the Penal Code, carries a prison sentence of up to three years and two years, respectively.

“After deciding on the charges, [the court] places the accused in provisional detention at the provincial prison. He has the right to deny the charges,” he said.

Deputy provincial police chief Phing Chendareth said Svay Leu district police had sent Sitha to the provincial police who submitted documents to the provincial court. “We already filed documents to the provincial court. The court is conducting further investigations,” he said.

Svay Leu district police chief Sun Eng previously told The Post that Sitha is a Phnom Penh resident but resided at his newspaper office in Siem Reap’s Boeung Mealea commune, Svay Leu district.

The plaintiff, Mey Su, 40, is a military officer residing in Preah Vihear province’s Kampong Pranak commune.

“We charged [Sitha] with ‘illegal use of weapons,’ but additional charges could be pressed depending on further investigations. It is out of my hands now.” he said.

Sitha told reporters he had not committed any crime as alleged, adding he is a journalist and does not possess a gun to threaten others. On the contrary, he said, it’s the plaintiff who possessed the gun because he is a military officer.

“I don’t have any gun to threaten others. I don’t know where the gun came from. After the incident, police inspected my car and found nothing, but they still handcuffed me and pressed charges against me. I have no idea,” he said.

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