The family of a 25-year-old man who is wanted for killing a woman and injuring two others in an unprovoked shooting outside the Royal Palace on Oct 2 has paid compensation to his victims, the wanted man’s lawyer said Wednesday.
The family of Heng Phanith, who was described by police as a gun-toting “rich kid,” paid $4,000 to the family of 21-year-old Suon Chanthoeun, who was shot and killed at a food stand near the palace. According to witnesses, the young gunman, who holds the rank of RCAF lieutenant, opened fire at random hitting bystanders after becoming enraged by damage inflicted to his luxury SUV by other young men.
The injured, Kheng Kunthea, 22, and Kim Nhanh, 22, were paid $3,500 and $2,500 respectively, Heng Panith’s lawyer Mon Keosivin said by telephone Wednesday. Mon Keosivin said that the family of his client wanted to help the families of the victims, and ease their suffering.
“I did it to help them on time for their medical fees,” Mon Keosivin said, adding that he hasn’t talked to his client because he is still on the run from police.
Chin Buntheun, the husband of Kheng Kunthea, said he received the money, but added that despite the payment he would still seek justice for his wife through the country’s courts.
“Although I received $3,500 from the gunman’s lawyer, the court case is still going to happen,” Chin Buntheun vowed, adding that his wife left Calmette Hospital on Tuesday but is a year away from full recovery.
“She is still weak, and she needs to stay at home,” he said.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a warrant to arrest Heng Phanith on Oct 7. Municipal police chief Touch Naruth could not be reached for comment Wednesday on the status of the investigation.
Suon Saravy, an uncle of the woman that died in the shooting, said by telephone that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has called relatives to appear Nov 16. He also confirmed that the family received $4,000 from Mon Keosivin before declining to comment further.