Two police officers were killed while on an anti-drug mission on April 21 in Tuol Prich commune’s Chantrea Thmey village of Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district while trying to apprehend a suspect.

Provincial deputy police chief Kong Sidorn identified the deceased officers as Tuol Prich district police chief Chuch Sophea and Rim Sophanna, a police officer from Ang Snuol district.

The suspect, 21-year-old Thim Doeun, allegedly shot the officers while resisting arrest. Nine other suspected drug traffickers managed to escape.

“My officers are continuing to work on this case and I cannot immediately provide any further details on this incident. We still have further work to do,” he said.

However, an Ang Snuol district police officer who asked not to be named said on April 21 that in collaboration with the commune police, they had cracked down on a gang of drug traffickers after having monitored them for a long period of time.

He said that at 2pm on April 21, the police were conducting an anti-drug operation in Chantrea Thmey village when the suspects opened fire, killing Chuch Sophea instantly at the scene.

Rim Sophanna sustained serious injuries from the shooting and was taken to the Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak Hospital, but died after efforts by doctors to save him proved unsuccessful.

Chuong Khem, a Tuol Prich commune councillor, said the citizenry and authorities of the commune and district were saddened by the loss of the officers, especially the commune police chief whom she knew personally.

Recalling the April 21 operation, she said the suspects were at a house that the police raided and when Sophea entered, the suspects shot him three to four times, killing him at the scene.

“There were drug busts in the past, but they didn’t lead to killing like this. I and all of the commune and district officials are saddened by this,” she said.