A nephew of Prime Minister Hun Sen was charged Friday with possessing and firing an illegal weapon in connection with a nightclub shooting incident earlier this week, a municipal judge said.
“Everyone faces the same treatment of the law,” said Ya Sokhon, the investigating judge, when announcing the charges against Nhim Pisey, who also is known as Hun Pisey.
Ya Sokhon refused to give further details of the charges, pending an investigation that he said could take as long as four months. Nhim Pisey, who police reported as 19 years old, is being held in PJ prison, police and court officials said.
Police said they did not recover the pistol from the incident.
Carrying or transporting illegal arms is punishable by six months to three years in prison, while a conviction for assault and battery with a weapon carries a sentence from four months to four years, according to the penal code.
Nhim Pisey is the son of a sister of Hun Sen and Nhim Chantara, Cambodia’s ambassador to Burma.
Ya Sokhon said he must interview at least 10 witnesses, including two men who were injured during the incident, which occurred in front of the Manhattan Club on Street 86 at about 3 am Wednesday.
Kay Chin, a 25-year-old student, was shot in the foot.
So Chandy, a 39-year-old soldier, injured his hand, which was caught in the chamber of the automatic pistol allegedly fired by Nhim Pisey, said Khoan Sophoan, penal police chief. Both were treated at Calmette Hospital and released.
Khoan Sophoan said the incident started with a scuffle inside the club between Nhim Pisey and Hark Srun, son of local import-exporter Kim Hap.
Nhim Pisey and a friend, Neag Piluth, then started arguing outside with Hark Srun and his associates, Kay Phin and So Chandy. Neag Piluth retrieved an automatic pistol from a car nearby and fired several shots in the air, police said.
Nhim Pisey “grabbed the gun from Neag Piluth and fired once in the air and twice at the ground,” Khoan Sophoan said, referring to a police statement.
Nhim Pisey aimed the pistol at Hark Srun’s stomach, but So Chandy moved to “hold on to the gun trigger,” according to the statement.
The gun accidentally discharged, missing Hark Srun but injuring Kay Phin and So Chandy.
The gun then was taken away by an unnamed man who wore a paramilitary uniform, Khoan Sophoan said.
Nhim Pisey should not be judged too harshly, a friend of the suspect wrote in a letter Friday to The Cambodia Daily.
“I know Pisey personally as the most gentle and sweet young man I have ever met,” wrote Victor Chao, managing director of the Manhattan Club.
“I see Pisey as a very compassionate young adult who happened to choose the wrong way to deal with the problem of growing up with pain and humiliation,” he said.