Grocery Held Up in Latest Armed Heist

Armed robbers held up a family-run grocery in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district on Sunday night, making off with cash and jew­elry worth $10,000, local police said on Monday.

The incident was just the latest in a spate of armed robberies that has swept the country in recent weeks, leading the interior minister to order police nationwide to ar­rest more violent criminals or face de­motion. Just last week, the robbery of another small grocery in Kandal Stung district, which borders Ponhea Leu, left one person dead and three injured.

In Sunday’s robbery, three men wearing ski masks held up Pring Sim, 45, as she was preparing to close her shop in Chhvang commune at about 7 p.m., according to deputy district police chief Seng Srang.

“She said that two of the three sus­pects were carrying a pistol and a rifle in their hands. They came to her house and pointed the weap­ons, threatening to kill her and her daughter and asking for their valuables,” he said.

Ms. Sim and her 25-year-old daughter, Teng Vann, handed over their jewelry and cash, and the robbers fled the scene without dis­charging their weapons, the po­lice official added.

He said officers from four communes, along with district police and military police, had arrived at the scene within 15 minutes of be­ing alerted by neighbors, but were too late to apprehend the culprits.

“We cooperated with military po­lice and a total of about 50 officials quickly intervened and investigated at the scene, but the suspects were gone,” he said. “We surrounded that area until 2 a.m., but we found nothing.”

Roeun Nara, deputy provincial police chief, said officers had not yet arrested any suspects in last week’s armed robbery.

“It is interesting, because in the past robbers focused on jewelry shops, but now they are targeting grocery shops,” he said, adding that police had been or­dered to step up patrols of lo­cal businesses.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said senior po­lice officials would soon hold another meeting to discuss the armed rob­bery epidemic but declined to pro­vide details.

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