Drunk Bodyguard Arrested for Shooting Friend, Police Say

An officer from the Interior Ministry’s bodyguard department was arrested on Friday after allegedly shooting one of his friends during an argument at a party in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, police officials said yesterday.

The suspect, Captain Ung Dara, 35, had been drinking all afternoon with eight friends in Meanchey district’s Chak Angre Loeu commune, when the shooting occurred, said Chum Savuth, the commune police chief.

“There were eight friends who started to have drinks from lunchtime until 5:30 pm,” Mr Savuth said. “After they got heavily drunk, the victim and the gunman argued with each other…and the gunman pulled a gun and shot his friend in the left side of his back.”

Mr Savuth said that the argument between the two men started when the victim, So Chanthet, 27, pointed a finger at Capt Dara, ordering him to drink more beer.

Capt Dara, who had bought the beer, took exception to the younger man’s orders to drink and pulled out his pistol, Mr Savuth said.

Mr Savuth said that after the shooting, Capt Dara had taken his injured friend straight to Calmette Hospital.

“The villagers reported the shooting to our police station straight away and we went and arrested him and confiscated his pistol with six bullets in it,” he said.

The shot man was in a critical condition in hospital yesterday, Mr Savuth said, adding that the bullet had exited through the right side of the victim’s back.

Hy Narin, Meanchey district police chief, said that Capt Dara was sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Saturday, but was immediately sent back to police custody, because there was not enough staff at the court.

“[Today], we will send him again to the court,” Mr Narin said.

Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the national police commissioner, said yesterday that he had heard about the case, but had not yet received a report detailing the shooting incident.

Friday’s shooting is the latest in a string of drunken gun-related incidents involving police and military officials.

To name but a few: On April 4, Brigadier General Tep Phearum was arrested after allegedly shooting his handgun in the air while drunk outside his house on busy street 278 in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district. A bullet ricocheted off a nearby building and hit a British teacher in the foot, causing a minor injury.

On March 28, RCAF Brigadier General Soy Narith was arrested for allegedly shooting ice-seller Kong Kon in the face after a traffic altercation in Kompong Speu province. The general was later charged with attempted murder.

On March 26, a major in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit was arrested after allegedly getting drunk and firing his handgun in the air outside the Chinese Embassy.


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