The wife of a Kompong Thom province man who disappeared shortly after being wounded in a shootout with police appealed to police and human rights groups Tuesday to find her missing husband and punish those responsible for his attack.
“I want to find justice for my husband,” said Ban Tha Vann, the wife of the missing man, So Din.
“If he was guilty, he should have been arrested and sent to court. I don’t know why he was shot and disappeared.”
So Din was shot May 21 outside his residence in Chra Neang village, Chra Lorng commune, after police with warrants for robbery and kidnapping from a Kompong Cham court went there to arrest him around 9 pm.
Witnesses said So Din was under his house when police asked a woman to call him out on the pretense that his neighbors wanted to gamble with him.
As he emerged, witnesses told human rights officials, police shot at him three times from about 10 meters away.
So Din was then chased across Road 6 in a hail of gunfire by some 10 police officers, witnesses said.
“Witnesses who saw this said he shouted from the bushes ‘Please, mother, help me. I am injured in the stomach,’” a human rights official said last week.
Police fished him out of the bushes where he was hiding and whisked him away, bleeding, on the back of a motorcycle, Ban Tha Vann said.
“I will inform the prosecutor about this complaint and push him to investigate it as well as provide security for the victim’s family,” the human rights official said Tuesday.
“I am very concerned about the victim’s disappearance,” the official added.
Ban Tha Vann expressed concern over her husband’s fate.
“I don’t have much hope that he has survived because he was seriously injured. I have not heard any news about him and the police who arrested him say they do not know where he is,” she said.
“I stood about 5 meters from the place where they forced him to get on the motorcycle and they took him north. He was naked,” she said.
So Din’s krama, which fell off as he was hauled away, had been pierced by two bullets and had bloodstains on it.
Kim An, deputy police chief of Kompong Thom province denied Ban Tha Vann’s accusations.
“What she says is not true,” he said. “We carried out the court’s warrant and he escaped from police. He was shot by police when he threw a grenade. We have not arrested him.”
Kim An added that So Din escaped from their clutches and fled the province. Police are now looking for him, Kim An said Tuesday.
Kim An said last week that So Din threw a grenade at police after he was called from the house.
The grenade was apparently a dud, he said, and did not explode.