Two armed robbers were arrested in Phnom Penh on Thursday afternoon after leading police on an hourlong motorbike chase, which culminated in the officers shooting and injuring both men, police said Thursday.
According to police, the men—both in their twenties—were arrested at about 4 p.m. following a chase that began in Chamkar Mon district after the suspects stole a motorbike at gunpoint near Tuol Kok district’s Heng Ly market.
Eang Sorphea, chief of the municipal police’s serious crimes bureau, said more than 10 police officers fired warning shots into the air during the chase.
“At first, we shot in the air to force them to stop, but they did not care and continued speeding,” Mr. Sorphea said, adding that the men had been on a single motorbike and were carrying a K-59 pistol. He declined to name the suspects.
Mr. Sorphea said police shot the armed suspects after they abandoned the stolen motorbike and attempted to flee on foot on Street 302 in Boeng Keng Kang I commune, near the Champs Elysees restaurant.
“Police shot both suspects in the leg,” he said. “Police needed to shoot them in order to defend themselves.”
Deputy municipal police chief Song Ly, who also declined to name the suspects, said one of the men was taken to the Chamkar Mon district police station for questioning, while the other was brought to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital due to the seriousness of his injuries.
“The suspects admitted they stole the motorbike from [outside] Heng Ly market,” he added.
Chan Veasna, 30, a moto-taxi driver who witnessed the chase at the intersection of streets 51 and 294, said police shot rapidly and with little concern for bystanders, forcing him to dive for cover.
“I didn’t know what was happening, but saw police shooting many times, ” Mr. Veasna said. “I was really scared they would shoot me.
“I laid down on the ground to avoid the bullets,” he added. “If I died because of the police’s bullets, who would look after my family?”