Police question Turk over alleged disputes

Police question Turk over alleged disputes

A Turkish man, targeted in a shooting in Sihanoukville, was embroiled in several business disputes including a fight over a kebab store and a clash with a rival Turkish ferry service to Koh Rong island, it was alleged yesterday.

Authorities continued to question Turkish nationals Mehmet Tekoglu and Serdar Ergun Gimmy, yesterday evening after the pair was accused of causing violence, according to Sihanoukville deputy police commissioner Kol Phally.

Tekoglu was arrested on Friday after his Lexus was shot at by a sports car in an apparent revenge attack on Thursday at 11pm which left bystander Sorn Phala, 27, with a bullet wound in his thigh. However it’s unclear exactly which incident sparked the shooting.

Provincial Governor Chhit Sokhorn linked the shooting to a long-term dispute between two Turkish rival boat services from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong island, identified by one of the disputants as Sea Cambodia and Koh Rong Dive Centre.

However, the attack has also been linked to a feud between Gimmy and Tekoglu and the Israeli owners of a kebab stand near Serendipity beach.

A representative of Koh Rong Dive Centre, who spoke on condition of anonymity, alleged Tekoglu, who works for Sea Cambodia, had waged a campaign of intimidation against his company and other businesses in Sihanoukville.

“He said he will shoot us in the head,” he said, adding that Tekoglu was a former cage fighter who had arrived in Sihanoukville about nine months ago. “He’s trying to intimidate so people run away and he gets to keep their business,” he said.

“He’s made about 20 enemies in six months, [the attack] could have come from anyone.”

However, Sea Cambodia’s Tobias Ziegler, Tekoglu’s business partner, refuted the claims.

“It’s not true at all,” he said.

“Kong Rong Dive Centre is trying to use this case to pull down our company.”

Kol Phally said five complaints have been lodged against Gimmy and Tekoglu, who had been handed to the court.

According to police documents, on February 25 Gimmy attacked a man at 3am while both Gimmy and Tekoglu attacked another two men at 7pm. The Kong Rong Dive Centre representative claimed these clashes stemmed from a dispute with Israeli restaurant owners after Gimmy opened a rival kebab stand about 300 metres from their shop.

The representative also identified Tekoglu as a man identified in a Turkish news report as being behind a kidnapping in 2010, but the claim could not be independently verified.