Man Charged With Attempted Murder, Impersonating Official

The Kandal Provincial Court on Sat­urday handed down three charges, including one of attempted murder, to a man pretending to be an RCAF official after he allegedly became intoxicated at a wedding in Sa’ang district on Fri­day night and fired his gun into a crowd, leaving three injured.

Ouk Kimseth, chief prosecutor at the provincial court, said that 52-year-old Heng Sam Ath was charged with attempted murder, using fake identification and use of an illegal weapon after he fired his K-54 handgun into a crowd at a wedding.

“I have ordered him into pretrial detention as of [Saturday],” he said, adding that the suspect was found wearing an RCAF uniform and carrying a forged identification card labeling him as a colonel.

Kandal provincial police chief Iv Chamroeun said that although nobody was seriously injured in the incident, two men and one woman sustained bullet wounds on their hands and legs.

He said that Mr. Sam Ath became angry when the wedding singer refused to dance with him, so he fired into the crowd before getting into his car and trying to escape.

“Those women did not want to dance with him until they were finished singing, which made him angry, so he shot at the people there,” he said. “Then, he got into his car…but he hit another car and then crashed into three different police barricades until we arrested him.”

Police were finally able to arrest Mr. Sam Ath in Meanchey district, about 20 km from the scene.

Impersonating military and po­lice officers is nothing new in Cam­bodia, where it is easy to buy uni­forms and official paraphernalia at local markets. On Dec 22, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged three men for their role in stopping a driver at gunpoint after one of the men dressed in an RCAF uniform and used an assault rifle to intimidate the driver. In Sep­tember, three men were caught im­personating military police and going from house to house to ex­tort money from fishermen and loggers around the Tonle Sap lake.

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