Customs Official’s Son Charged In Shooting at Rock Nightclub

The son of a high-ranking customs official was charged Tuesday in an early morning shooting incident on Sunday at Phnom Penh’s Rock nightclub during which one man was injured, police and prison officials confirmed.

Keo Vitou, 24, the son of Finance Ministry customs official Keo Sokheang, was charged by the court with intentional violence under aggravated circumstances, property damage under aggravated circumstances and the illegal possession and use of a weapon, said Eng Sorphea, Phnom Penh penal police chief.

Mr. Vitou is among three men, including a brother of Mr. Sokheang’s wife and a bodyguard, suspected to have let off some 30 rounds at the Rock nightclub at about 2:10 a.m. on Sunday.

A Lexus SUV and an AK-47 were seized from Mr. Sokheang’s home later that day. On Monday, Mr. Sokheang, who runs the mobile inspection unit at the Finance Ministry’s customs and excise department, handed his son over to the police, who passed him on to the municipal court.

“Now we have sent the suspect to PJ Prison for pretrial detention, and we will continue to look for the other suspects involved in this case,” Mr. Sorphea said.

PJ Prison director Hou Puthvisal confirmed that Mr. Vitou was being detained there.

“We received the suspect from the police today; he arrived at the prison just before 5 p.m.,” he said.

Authorities have yet to offer a motive for the shooting.

Investigating Judge Long Kesphirum, who laid the charges, declined to comment on the case and referred questions to deputy prosecutor Vong Bunvisoth, who could not be reached.

At the Rock last night, the nightclub’s head of administration, Oeur Sam Ath, declined to discuss the shooting.

“We gave a report to the police already and it is being investigated. I can’t say any more about this,” he said.

“I don’t know what caused this. We just operate a normal karaoke parlor.”

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