Soldier Accused of Killing Commune Official’s Son

An RCAF soldier stands accused of shooting and killing the son of a Battambang province commune official after an altercation on the border with Pailin province on Sunday night, officials said yesterday.  

Koeun Phat, second Kamrieng commune chief for the SRP, said his 25-year-old son, Koeun Thoeun, was shot at about 9 pm on Sunday in Pailin province’s Sala Krao district near Kuy Bridge, which crosses into Battambang’s Kamrieng district. He said the soldier accused of the shooting, Private Penh Pich, 32, was usually stationed at Kuy Bridge to take fees from passing trucks.

“I do not know what the motivation was, but please find justice for my son,” Mr Phat said, adding that his son leaves behind a wife and 2-month-old daughter.

Colonel Prom Pat, a commander of the 504 military regiment in Pailin, said yesterday that Private Pich accidentally shot at Thoeun after Thoeun used an ax to strike him once on the left shoulder.

“I think that my soldier’s rifle accidentally discharged and hit the man because the man [attacked] him,” Col Pat said.

Col Pat blamed the incident on a group of five men who were drinking at a shop about 30 meters from the Pailin side of the bridge.

After drinking, the five men crossed the bridge on two motorcycles and shouted at Private Pich, Col Pat said. Thoeun then dismounted and attacked the soldier with an ax, he said.

He said Thoeun died from a single shot from an AK-47 assault rifle to the right side of his chest.

Private Pich was sent to Military Region 5 based in Battambang province to determine whether he will be disciplined or face prosecution, Col Pat said.

Yin Mengly, provincial coordinator for human rights group Adhoc, said this was the third case of a shooting death involving armed policemen or RCAF soldiers in Battambang province this year. One of the other two suspects has been arrested, while the other remains at large, Mr Mengly said.


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