A fisherman on the Tonle Sap lake was shot six times on Monday, allegedly by a group of soldiers and workers from an NGO combating illegal fishing, who authorities say are now hiding out in the jungle.
So Sovanndy, Pursat provincial Military Police deputy commander, said Ho Yang Toeng, 32, was shot four times by a group of two soldiers and three workers from the NGO 2 Thnou.
Yang Toeng fell out of his boat and ran to his home in Kandieng district’s Raingtoel commune, where the group followed him and shot him twice more, Sovanndy said. He was transferred to Phnom Penh’s Preah Kossamak Hospital, where he died of his injuries, he said. The five suspects fled to the forests surrounding Tonle Sap lake in Kampong Thom province, and have been hiding for two days, according to Kandieng District Police Chief Liv Se Im.
Military Police forces from Pursat, Kampong Thom and Kampong Chhnang provinces are searching the forest, he said. Se Im said forces found the suspected perpetrators’ motorboat – allegedly owned by Nguyen Yang Yoeung, who he said worked for the NGO – as well as two rifles, military uniforms, IDs, walkie talkies and phones.
Neither Sovanndy nor Se Im would identify the soldiers or the NGO, but Sovanndy said he suspected the workers were from the 2 Thnou, or “2nd December”. Its stated mission is to monitor illegal fishing. A post on the National Police website also identified the NGO as 2 Thnou, but a National Police spokesman could not be reached.
Yun Savat, the head of the organisation based in Preah Sihanouk province, said the NGO operates in Pursat but said he was unaware of the case.
While Sovanndy said he did not know the reasons for the shooting, he insisted it wasn’t part of an operation to crack down on illegal fishing, but rather an act of revenge. “Unless the suspects are arrested, we will not know the truth. I asked the victim’s wife and relatives, and they did not know about the motive as well.”