Cambodian Border Guard Handed 25-Year Sentence in Vietnam

A Cambodian border guard was sentenced to 25 years in a Vietnamese prison for fatally shooting one man and injuring a second at a restaurant just inside Vietnam, officials said on Thursday.

Sem Socheat, chief of the Takeo provincial police’s serious crimes bureau, confirmed that a Vietnamese court sentenced 53-year-old Lay Bunthy, a deputy chief of the province’s border guard office, to 25 years in prison on Tuesday, but declined to comment further on the case.

Citing court records, Vietnamese news website reported that in July, Mr. Bunthy was drinking at a bar in southern Vietnam’s An Giang province, which borders Cambodia, where he owned a home and a small business, when he was approached by Vietnamese local Pham Van Quang and offered a drink.

Mr. Bunthy left the bar, retrieved a gun from his house in Vietnam and returned to confront Mr. Van Quang, the website said.

“Did you have someone attack me the other day?” Mr. Bunthy reportedly asked.

When Mr. Van Quang answered affirmatively, Mr. Bunthy shot him as well as his drinking companion, seriously injuring Mr. Van Quang and killing his companion.

The An Giang provincial court handed Mr. Bunthy a 20-year sentence for murder and another five for storing and using a weapon, the website said, adding that authorities would expel Mr. Bunthy after his sentence was served.

Sarin Sarano, department director for the second border gate with Vietnam along Takeo’s border with An Giang, on Thursday declined to speculate on whether Cambodia would ask for Mr. Bunthy to be extradited.

“I do not dare give you exact information,” he said, adding that the decision to issue such a request rested with his superiors. “We will be waiting for the leaders of the [Interior] Ministry to make a decision.”

Mr. Sarano said there was little that Cambodian authorities could do to aid their colleague in what amounted to a personal conflict, and declined further comment.

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