The commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s personal bodyguard unit denied on Tuesday reports that two of his men were shot dead in Kandal province’s Takhmau town on Sunday night.
Provincial and commune police said that they received reports that members of the prime minister’s powerful bodyguard unit were shot dead during a late-night altercation near the town’s Prek Samrong pagoda, but they had no details available and no dead bodies.
“Because they are bodyguards the names and positions of the dead were not revealed,” said Kim Rithy, Kandal deputy provincial police chief.
“They are RCAF soldiers, the victims’ commanders will handle this case by themselves. We just heard about the problem,” Kim Rithy said.
Hing Bunheang, the commander of the prime minister’s bodyguards, denied the reports, adding that his men were not involved in the incident.
“It was not my colleagues,” Hing Bunheang said. “It may have been military police but it was not my colleagues involved in shooting,” he added.
Kandal Provincial Military Police Commander Chuon Sovann said he was unaware of any of his officers or bodyguards having beenshot. “I am not aware of this. I have just returned from another province,” he said.
Oeun An, Takhmau commune police chief, said the shooting took place but that it involved “big men” who were now handling the incident themselves.
“This case is true. But it is the issue of big men. We only heard about it,” he said.
One local police officer said on condition of anonymity that the incident ensued after two bodyguards, who were drinking at a local restaurant on Sunday night, returned to their base on the Bassac River in front of Prek Samrong pagoda.
The two men were then involved in a dispute with two other bodyguards from their own unit and were killed in a hail of AK-47 fire, the police officer alleged, adding that the argument revolved around a beer promotion girl.
A military police officer, also speaking on condition of anonymity, named the dead men as Pov Chantha, 25, and Ung Kong, 26. He also named the two men suspected of the killing, adding that both were still at large. The officer’s claims could not be independently verified.
(Additional reporting by Lor Chandara)