Chea Sim Assistant Disputes Shooting Account

An assistant to Senate and CPP President Chea Sim arrested last week after firing a gun into the air outside a Phnom Penh nightclub has claimed he was acting in self-defense.

Cambodian-American lawyer David Chanaiwa, 35, said reports that the argument, which culminated in him firing the gun, had broken out because his friends would not call him ‘excellency’ were untrue.

“I did not shoot the gun because someone would not call me ‘excellency,’” he said Sunday. “I would never do such a stupid thing. I am happy with my name.”

Chanaiwa said an argument had broken out in the nightclub early on the morning of Oct 7 after a man he knew had accused him of being untruthful.

“He yelled at me using impolite words…and even threatened to shoot me,” Chanaiwa said.

Friends and bodyguards of the man, three of whom were armed, had followed him to his car, Chan­aiwa claimed. “In order to safeguard myself from this dangerous situation, I fired three shots into the air and headed home,” he said.

A bodyguard who was not present on the night, Chanaiwa said, had left in the car the Glock pistol used in the incident.

Chanaiwa added that he remains an assistant to Chea Sim “while the matter is being cleared up.”

Municipal police chief Touch Naruth said Chanaiwa had been freed 48 hours after his arrest on Oct 16.

“He was asked to sign an agreement not to shoot again and the handgun was confiscated,” Touch Naruth said. “We did not send him to court because the victims withdrew their complaint against him.”

Chea Sim’s Cabinet Chief Mom Sarin said Sunday he was too busy to speak to a reporter.


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