Conflicting Accounts of Activists’ Bus Shooting

More than 50 land rights activists from two Phnom Penh communities filed a complaint Wednesday with police over an incident in which an unidentified man allegedly fired a shot at a bus transporting them from an anti-eviction protest in Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.

The city’s deputy police chief, Brigadier General Chuon Narin, said an investigation had already been launched into the incident, which took place on Saturday, but denied the activists’ claim that a bullet was fired at them.

On Monday, the Daun Penh district police chief said a bullet had been fired at the bus in a case of road rage, but Brig. Gen. Narin said Wednedsay the bus’ windshield had actually been hit by a rock.

“We have found that an unidentified man on a motorbike with a girl got angry with the bus driver while driving on a narrow road and threw a rock at the front glass and then escaped,” Mr. Narin said.

“We have made the initial conclusion that the windshield was broken by the rock, not by shooting, and we are now investigating to find the man and bring him in for questioning,” he said.

The activists who were on the bus have insisted that a shot was fired, saying that they heard the crack of a gun discharging and that several of them saw a man on a motorbike pull in front of them, unholster a gun, and fire a single shot at the bus before speeding off. Police reportedly also found a holster at the scene.

Pich Limkhuon, one of those filing the complaint, said the activists wanted to ensure that authorities would find the shooter.

“We came here to a file complaint and to ask authorities to find justice for all of us after an unidentified person shot at us and then escaped on a motorbike,” Mr. Limkhuon said.

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