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A Siem Reap publisher arrested for shooting at suspected timber trader

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

A Siem Reap publisher arrested for shooting at suspected timber trader

Svay Leu district police in Siem Reap province on Wednesday questioned a local newspaper publisher who stands accused of firing a gun at a soldier suspected of being involved in the trafficking of luxury wood.

Sun Eng, the district police chief, told The Post that officers questioned Chhoum Sitha, 55, publisher of the Dom Noeng Kampuchea newspaper.

He said that as of now police aren’t sure why he shot at the alleged victim, Mey Su, 40, a soldier stationed in Preah Vihear province.

However, according to a police report posted on the General Commissariat of the National Police’s website, Su said Eng was a known extorter of luxury wood traders.

According to the report, Su was making deliveries when Sitha started following him. Sitha eventually pulled up alongside Su and shot his gun in an effort to get the soldier to stop his car.

Not stopping, Su began heading towards a police station when Sitha finally overtook him. Sitha fired his gun again and ordered Su to exit his vehicle. However, Su instantly recognised the suspect as someone who extorts those in the timber trade. He called out to nearby police, at which point Sitha ran off.

Su filed a complaint and Sitha was arrested and brought in for questioning.

Eng said the suspect was likely only to face charges relating to the illegal possession of a weapon.

When asked about the case, Pen Bona, the president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, expressed disappointment that a member of his profession would behave in such a manner.

He said the only weapons a journalist needs are “a pen, camera and tape recorder”.

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