A military captain who moonlighted as a security guard at Phnom Penh’s Golden Sorya Mall was arrested by military police on Wednesday morning after drawing his cocked pistol on a fellow security guard during an argument, officials said.
Sum Veng, 43, was arrested at about 1 a.m. in Daun Penh district after armed military police responded to reports that an armed man was threatening to shoot the night security manager at the mall, said deputy district military police commander Kim Leng.
Witnesses told police that following a brief argument, Mr. Veng, who worked as the mall’s security chief during the day, drew a military issue K-54 pistol from his waist and cocked it, threatening to shoot his colleague, 37-year-old Inn Pov, according to Mr. Leng.
“We are not sure if the suspect is in the military or the police as we were not able to question him at all,” he said, explaining that the suspect had been taken straight to military police headquarters for questioning because of his gun.
However, according to a photograph posted online by local media outlets on Wednesday, an ID card belonging to Mr. Veng identifies him as a captain in the Ministry of Defense’s 511 Rapid Intervention Unit. The card, signed by General Hing Bun Heang, who heads Prime Minister Hun Sen’s personal bodyguard unit, is shown on a table next to a valid weapon’s permit, the pistol and a loaded magazine.
General Bun Heang, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces spokesman Ith Sovann and Defense Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat all could not be reached.
In 2011, then-municipal governor Kep Chuktema placed a ban on police and members of the military working second jobs as security guards at Phnom Penh’s restaurants and nightclubs, following a fatal shooting by a military police officer working at a club in Tuol Kok district.
National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said he was not aware of Wednesday’s incident, and did not know whether the ban on soldiers and security forces working as private guards was still in place.
Sem Thoeung, the manager of Golden Sorya Mall, said he was not aware of Mr. Veng’s professional background, adding that he had only been hired about a month ago.
“I don’t know why the two of them fought. They worked well together before this,” he said, adding that witnesses told him Mr. Veng and three friends were drunk upon arriving at the mall.