Actress Shot as Police Try to Stop Party

Popular film actress Sveng Socheata was struck in the hand by a stray bullet in the early hours of Saturday morning after Siem Reap provincial military police tried to break up a party on the set of her latest horror movie, police said yesterday.

Responding to a call from the film’s producer, three military police officers arrived at the film set in Siem Reap City at around midnight on Friday to find a group of locals drinking heavily with the film’s cast and crew, according to Nhim Seila, the city’s deputy military police chief.

With the film stars urging them on, a group of villagers and crew members then attacked the officers with wooden sticks, Mr Seila claimed.

“Our military policemen opened fire into the air for self-defense because two military policemen got injured,” he said.

The villagers and crew struggled with the officer firing his weapon, causing him to fire a stray shot that ricocheted and hit Ms Socheata’s right hand, Mr Seila said. The officers were armed with AK-47 rifles and fired around six shots, he added.

Ms Socheata was being treated in the city’s Phsar Krom clinic yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

The actress is best known for her performance opposite leading man Tep Rindaro in the 2007 romance “Neang Lveajek,” and appeared in the 2006 film adaptation of Nou Hach’s novel “Withering Flowers.”

Military police officers Vo Sophen, 39, and Chhay Rong, 37, both suffered head wounds from the attack and required six and four stitches respectively, Mr Seila said.

Four men were arrested for their part in the incident: Chum Vichay, 22, Svay Sopheng, 29, Kha Thol, 43, and Ing Sekleng, 21, whom Mr Seila identified as the man who actually struck the two police officers.

Siem Reap deputy prosecutor Toch Sopheakdei said the men were charged with premeditated assault and are currently in pretrial detention.

The film crew were in Siem Reap to shoot “The Evil of Termite Hill,” according to Bich Savin, owner of film production company Seven. Mr Savin called police after he found his stars and crew getting drunk in a local pagoda with villagers who had acted as extras in the movie, he said.

“I asked them not to drink beer in a pagoda, and I asked them to go to bed because it was late, but they didn’t listen to my pleas,” he said.

The crew have been filming in Siem Reap for nine days and are “90 percent” finished, Mr Savin said.


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