Man Who Shot 33 Times Over $3 Fine Surrenders

A man wanted by police for shooting 33 times in the air with a handgun after he was given a $3 speeding ticket turned himself into police Tuesday morning in Phnom Penh.

The alleged culprit, Choeng Sinath, a car dealer working in the capital, has been on the lam since February 28, when he was stopped by traffic police in Kompong Speu province and fined $3 for driving 95 kilometers per hour in a 40-kph zone. He paid the fine without protest, but then pulled his Mercedes-Benz SUV away from the police and fired 33 times in the air with his Glock pistol.

Choeng Sinath is flanked by officers outside the Phnom Penh police headquarters after turning himself in Tuesday. (Lim Cheavutha)
Choeng Sinath is flanked by officers outside the Phnom Penh police headquarters after turning himself in Tuesday. (Lim Cheavutha)

Last week, National Police chief Neth Savoeun blasted the Kompong Speu police for letting Mr. Sinath escape, calling provincial police chief Keo Pisey’s management of the force “very weak.” Still, police were unable to track down Mr. Sinath, who is registered as a resident of Kompong Cham province, until he turned himself in at a police station in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

“We tried to find him, but he escaped from his home after the shooting,” said Phnom Penh police chief Chuon Sovann.

Lieutenant General Sovann said Mr. Sinath confessed to the crime.

“The suspect told us that he was drunk and he shot 33 times in the air because he was angry that police charged him $3 for a speeding fine,” he said.

Both Lt. Gen. Sovann and his deputy, Chuon Narin, emphasized that the culprit was a “normal person” who worked as a car dealer, and not a government or military official. They said they would investigate how he came to possess the Glock.

After turning himself in, Mr. Sinath was sent to Kompong Speu, where he was charged by the provincial court with illegal use of a gun and sent to the provincial prison, according to prosecutor Keo Sothea.

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