Two men allegedly behind at least four robberies in Phnom Penh, including one last Saturday that saw a university student shot dead, were provisionally charged yesterday, with one suspect confessing during a press conference that he fired at the victim.
Working with local authorities, officers from the Ministry of Interior on Wednesday arrested the two suspects in separate locations in the capital, recovering firearms including a sawn-off M16 rifle, two handguns – a Beretta and a Herstal and ammunition, according to the head of the Interior Ministry’s penal police, Sok Khemarin.
Police began the hunt on the weekend after Chan Sokchea, 24, was gunned down behind the wheel of his Lexus early on Saturday morning when he attempted to stop a group of thieves from robbing his fiancee and sister outside his Chamkarmon district home by ramming one with his car.
At a press conference yesterday, Khemarin displayed two of the alleged four perpetrators – Um Suosdey, who is accused of shooting Sokchea, and Chan Sovan, who is accused of robbing the women.
The men were later taken to Phnom Penh Municipal Court and charged with robbery and illegal use of a weapon, before being sent to Prey Sar prison. According to Khemarin’s deputy, Loek Vannak, the men admitted to being part of a gang behind four armed robberies in recent months, including the shooting.
Vannak said police also seized three motorbikes, two of which were used in the fatal attack, and walkie-talkies.
During yesterday’s press conference, Suosdey confessed to shooting at Sokchea on Saturday, saying the group had followed his car from a traffic light near the Intercontinental Hotel.
“I took the pistol and took five shots at the victim after he drove and tried to hit me, but he failed,” Suosdey said.
“I bought it from a man in Takhmao, but I do not know the name.”
Vannak said police would search for the dealer of the weapons. Khemarin said police continued to search for the remaining two suspects.
“Currently, our authorities are investigating for their two affiliates who are fleeing, in order to bring them to justice,” he said.