Two police officers were detained yesterday and are being questioned over the death of a man shot dead on Sunday during a raid on a cockfighting ring, allegedly by a stray police bullet.
Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Chuon Sovan said the two officers belonged to Por Sen Chey district police, but he declined to name the pair.
“They are competent to crack down on crime, but when it is a danger to people, we must open a thorough investigation,” he said.
“It was not the intention to kill anyone. It was a law enforcement operation and the use of firearms was to threaten the perpetrators [the gamblers at the cockfighting ring] to silence them and ensure the success of the operation.
“But it was an accident and the bullet could have ricocheted and hit the victim. The bullet removed from the body could be [misshapen].”
But on Sunday, Nong Sovanroth, a forensic pathologist who assessed the corpse of 33-year old victim Seak Ron, suggested an intact bullet had hit him in the throat and exited his body.
Nop Chantha, brother-in-law of the deceased, said police had paid the family $8,000 in compensation.
“The compromise is to get the money to support his children,” Chantha said, adding the family had not filed a complaint. Ron was the father of two children, aged 5 and 2.
Sovann said the case required both civil compensation – which he characterised as a humanitarian gift – as well as legal action, but denied the case was compromised.
Por Sen Chey District Police Chief Yim Saran, believed to have overseen the botched police operation, refused to take multiple calls from reporters yesterday.