“Beyond all imagination,” is how one of the four men arrested in Saturday night’s raid on a suspected Phnom Penh terror lair described his experience.
“Thirty police came out of nowhere and said they had a warrant to search my place for explosives. I was shocked,” said Pakistani national Ayaz Aslam Warrich, co-owner of Shangri-La restaurant in the Boeng Kak lake backpacker area. Warrich, his two South Asian partners and a Malaysian man were released Sunday evening after police admitted they had acted on information falsely linking them to terrorism.
During his brief internment at the Foreigner’s Police Station, police told Warrich that a motorcycle taxi driver had confessed to driving him to a city market on June 25, where he supposedly purchased 2 kg of the high-explosive TNT. Warrich and his partners said they were in Sihanoukville at the time, and did not return to the capital until June 26.
Warrich said Tuesday that overall he was treated courteously by police, who apologized when the ordeal was over.
However, three pairs of shoes and a leather jacket were missing from Warrich’s apartment above the Shangri-La restaurant when he returned home Monday. Police were unable to give him any information on the items.
KS Pillai, an English teacher and Malaysian national, was also arrested in the Sunday raid, but said he held no grudge. “This country has gone through a lot of trouble in the past,” he said. “Now they are evolving toward democracy and accidents like this are bound to happen.”