Man Shot Dead in Drug-Riddled Slum Over Motorbike Debt

A 23-year-old man died in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on Monday after being shot by two brothers for failing to deliver the money he owed them from a pawned motorbike, according to police.

Chhay Chenda was playing a popular fish-themed arcade game at a drug den in Toek Thla commune’s squalid Trapaing Chhouk village when Kong Sophal, 31, and his younger brother Kong Chansovann, 22, showed up to demand $500 the victim owed them, said commune police chief Sok Sophal.

“At about 2 a.m., the victim was sitting playing the fish gambling game when two men came and asked him to walk outside to ask him about the money, as Chansovann had asked him to take the motorbike to pawn at Kandal market last week,” Mr. Sophal said.

But when Chhay Chenda refused to hand over the money—telling the brothers they could retrieve the bike from the pawn shop if they wished—a fight broke out, he said.

“After the suspect named Chansovann beat the victim, Sophal took his gun and fired it five times until one shot hit the victim’s stomach, causing serious injuries,” the police chief said, adding that the victim succumbed to his wounds at Preah Kossamak Hospital a few hours later.

Following interviews with witnesses, both brothers were arrested shortly before noon at their home in the village, where police also found the murder weapon, he said.

“We found out that Chansovann was a friend of Chenda, then we went to arrest him,” he said, adding that Mr. Sophal was apprehended while attempting to flee from police.

Sen Sok police chief Mok Hong said the brothers had been questioned at the district police station and would be sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court today.

“We have concluded that it was a revenge case because we know the two tried to find the victim to get back the money that he took from them,” he said.

A beverage seller who witnessed the shooting said Chhay Chenda had attempted to escape from the brothers, but was caught in the barrage of bullets.

“I looked from the window and saw shots hit the wall a few times while a man tried to escape, but he was hit by one shot and fell to the ground,” said the man, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals.

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