A soldier and four civilians alleged to have drunkenly shot into the air outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday night were charged with illegal weapons possession yesterday.
The suspects, including RCAF soldier Moung Chhaily, 25, were arrested in Prampi Makara district on Friday. An unlicensed K-54 gun, presumed to have been used during the brief spree, was also seized.
Police said the suspects fired three shots after leaving a nightclub at City Mall shopping centre opposite the municipal court in Veal Vong commune on Wednesday.
Soy Chandy, district military police commander, told the Post that the five suspects were sent for pre-detention on Sunday.
“We sent them to the court on Sunday and charged them for illegal weapon use,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for stricter measures against rogue military officers, stating in a speech three months ago that he did not want to read any more media reports that accused the government of failing to prosecute lawbreakers because of their connections with the powerful. Chan Soveth, senior investigator for Adhoc, said it appeared weapons abuse by those in positions of authority was on the rise.
“They use the gun to threaten, or fight normal people,” he said. “It is different from protecting civilians from harm such as robbery.”
Commending the most recent arrest, Soveth urged the government to implement harsher punishments across the board, as well as inspection of officials carrying guns while off-duty.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STEPHANIE IP