Man Charged Over December Wing Robbery

A 41-year-old delivery man with a prior conviction for armed robbery has been arrested, charged and jailed over a violent heist in Kandal province in December, po­lice officials said on Tuesday.

Chhim Sophal, who worked transporting canisters of pressurized fuel for portable stoves, is be­lieved to be one of four men who broke into the Khsach Kandal district home of Lay Bunnary, the owner of a Wing money-transfer kiosk, on December 12, according to police. Armed with AK-47 assault rifles, handguns and an ax, the intruders beat Mr. Bun­nary’s daughter and son-in-law before fleeing into the forest with $30,000 in cash and $6,500 worth of gold.

A poster instructing customers not to obscure their faces—distributed by money transfer service Wing—is displayed at a money exchange in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
A poster instructing customers not to obscure their faces—distributed by money transfer service Wing—is displayed at a money exchange in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

District police chief Men So­khoeun said on Tuesday that Mr. Sophal—who moved to the district with his wife in November—was apprehended near his home at about 6:30 a.m. on Friday, shortly after leaving for work.

Mr. Sophal was identified as a suspect after district and provincial officers questioned locals with criminal histories, one of whom named the delivery man as a perpetrator in the December 12 heist, Mr. Sokhoeun said.

“We went to visit the landlord of the house…and he confirmed that the suspect lived there,” he said, adding that authorities later learned that Mr. Sophal had spent five years in Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison for a previous armed robbery before being released in 2013.

Roeun Nara, a deputy provincial police chief, said Mr. Sophal confessed to his involvement in the rob­bery and was charged with ag­gravated robbery at the Kandal Provincial Court on Monday.

“Our police are there burning their legs and arms searching for a few other suspects” in the case, he added.

The owners of at least four Wing mobile-payment kiosks have been robbed at gunpoint in recent months.

Huot Puthy, 47, who operates a money exchange and Wing kiosk on Street 63 in Phnom Penh, said on Tuesday that the recent robberies had him spooked.

“I feel very concerned about the Wing robberies because now it is happening very often,” Mr. Puthy said from behind a metal partition built to protect him from bandits.

He said he had not received any security advice from Wing, but that they had sent him a post­er instructing customers to re­move sunglasses and motorbike helmets.

Representatives of Wing could not be reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by Peter Ford)

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