Deputy Police Chief Allegedly Fires Pistol in Karaoke

A deputy district police chief in Battambang province shot his pistol into the air inside a Santepheap commune karaoke parlor Monday evening, though police and a commune official yesterday disagreed as to why he discharged his weapon.

According to second deputy commune chief Ou Kim, witnesses claimed an intoxicated Som Kovith-the deputy police chief of Sampov Loun district-fired five shots skyward just after 1 am on Tuesday morning to “show his power” to a group sitting at a nearby table. He said no one was injured in the event.

“This policeman must be punished according to the law, otherwise next time it will disrupt public order and it will cause death,” he said.

Mr Kim said he had sent a report of the incident to district and provincial authorities and was trying to find and interview the group of people who were allegedly threatened by the officer.

However, district police chief Pech Saren rejected Mr Kim’s description of the scene. The police chief claimed Mr Kovith went to the karaoke parlor in response to a call from the owner and fired his pistol into the air four times in order to break up a dispute among a group of “gangsters.”

“My policeman only fired to maintain security while 10 gangsters were arguing while getting drunk,” Mr Saren said.

Provincial police chief Sar Thet said he was unaware of the incident and would look into it.

Yin Mengly, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said he was also investigating the incident. “Whether drunk or in an argument, police should not use their position and guns to threaten others,” he said.


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