Group Says Police Officer Ordered Boy Shot

A local police official in Banteay Meanchey province allegedly ordered a villager to shoot a 16-year-old boy with an assault rifle during a crackdown on illegal fishing on Tuesday, a rights group said Friday.

The boy, Eang Sok, who was hit by bullets in both feet, filed a complaint against the officer with rights group Adhoc on Wednesday, according to the group’s provincial coordinator, Soum Chankea, who said he would forward the complaint to the provincial court on Monday.

“The commune police officer didn’t use his gun to shoot at the boy, but he gave his gun to another villager and commanded the villager to shoot at the boy,” Mr. Chankea said.

The complaint also names Soeur Mom, the local villager who shot the gun, he added.

Mr. Chankea said that the boy and his father had been fishing illegally in Kampong Bey lake using electric rods, but that this did not justify the use of physical force.

“The young boy didn’t deserve to be shot,” he said.

Eang Sok said Friday that the officer who allegedly ordered him to be shot, deputy Prasat commune police chief Uy Pek, had caught him and his father leaving the lake with a haul of fish and two electrical devices, then grabbed him by the neck, handing his AK-47 rifle to Mr. Mom. When Sok wriggled out of the officer’s grasp and fled the scene, Mr. Pek allegedly ordered Mr. Mom to fire on the teen.

“I heard the gunshot and kept running because I was panicked,” Eang Sok said from Siem Reap Provincial Hospital, where he is being treated for gunshot wounds to both feet. He said the toes on his left foot were broken, while another bullet had passed through his right foot.

Neither Mr. Pek nor Mr. Mom could be reached for comment, but commune police chief Prok Le denied that his officer had been involved in the shooting.

“My police officer was there to stop a young man [from illegal fishing],” he said. “Our police don’t carry a gun just to grab one man.”

Mr. Le admitted that the officer had brought an AK-47 to the scene, but emphasized that it was being held by a villager at the time of the shooting. He declined to comment on how the boy was shot, saying that the case was still under investigation.

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