Five Arrested in Payroll Heist; Cash ‘Spent’

Police arrested five men in­volved in a May 6 factory payroll heist Wednesday, while three other suspects are still at large, Judicial Municipal Police Chief Heng Pov said Thursday at his weekly news conference.

The chief announced that Sron Khon, 35; Sok Hoy, 30; and Chov Sophea, 29, committed the robbery. Heng Pov said Chov So­phea’s brothers—Chov Na­rong, 17, and Chov Sothy, 39—are suspected of stashing the bandits’ guns in their house.

“Our police were unable to re­cover the $59,285 and 5.5 million riel (about $1,375) that the four gunmen robbed, as they had spent it all,” Heng Pov said. “We have only confiscated four guns from them, and we discovered that the factory security guard, Nga Soknam Heng, who was shot inside the car, was also in this gang. Mr Heng was an insider sent to report to his gang about the factory payroll.”

The robbery occurred on Phnom Penh’s Russian Boule­vard when four men on motorbikes pulled alongside a Gennon (Cambodia) Garment Manu­facturing Ltd company car that was transporting workers’ wages to a subsidiary factory.

After stopping the car by shooting out a tire, one of the bandits shot the security guard and snatched the bag of cash. Police said witnesses were elated when the bandit tossed bank notes into the air for them to scurry after.

Heng Pov named Chov Sophea as the shooter.

The police chief appealed to “foreign invest­ors” to hire security guards li­censed by the Ministry of Interior.

“It is better than taking un­known bodyguards,” he said.

He also said that gunfire was exchanged during the apprehension of the suspects.

One student was accidentally shot and killed and another student was injured during the shootout on National Route 6A in Russei Keo district.

“Now our police are investigating to find out who shot the victims,” he said. “We are sorry about that we had no opportunity to stop the traffic on the road at that time.”

Chov Sophea admitted to reporters his part in the crime after Heng Pov spoke.

“I received $4,000 for robbing the Gennon factory payroll,” he said.

There was no explanation for why his share was so small, considering about $60,000 is unaccounted for.

But Chov Sophea denied that he shot his confederate, Nga Soknam Heng. He named a “Mr Sokhom” as the shooter. He also claimed innocence for his brothers, saying he had hidden the guns in their house without telling them.

Police officers who asked not to be named said that “Mr So­khom,” was a former military police officer who still wears his uniform. Police are searching for him.

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