Despite Hijacking Tale, Men to Face Court Over Truck Heist

Two men are facing charges of theft in Preah Sihanouk province for faking a container-truck hijacking over the weekend, military police said on Sunday.

The truck’s driver and its supposed hijacker were apprehended together in Preah Sihanouk’s Kompong Seila district on Saturday after offloading a portion of the truck’s cargo in Kompong Speu province, according to Var Chanthorn, chief of the Preah Sihanouk military police’s serious crimes bureau.

Mr. Chanthorn said he did not know what was in the truck, which had been traveling from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, or how much was stolen. He said the men were arrested after authorities were alerted to the heist by the transportation company that owns the truck, but that he could not remember the name of the company or the suspects.

Under questioning by military police in the afternoon, the two suspects described how one of them had pulled out a gun and hijacked the truck, which was being driven by the other, an account the bureau chief described as fantastical—and false.

“The company’s driver drove the truck with the container from Phnom Penh alone,” Mr. Chanthorn said the suspects had told military police. When the driver reached the outer rim of Phnom Penh, he continued, “the other suspect, whom he knows, began traveling with him, but then a Camry drove behind the truck.”

“When they arrived in Chbar Mon City in Kompong Speu province, the suspect who was traveling with the driver took out his pistol and pointed it at him and ordered him to get out of the truck and into the car,” he said.

The alleged hijacker then “drove the container somewhere off National Road 4 and then, at about 11 a.m., he drove the truck back and returned it to the previous driver and gave him $4,000, and then they continued on to Sihanoukville together.”

“They were all just performing, like in a show,” Mr. Chanthorn said.

Sim Rithy, a provincial military police officer in charge of National Road 4—which links Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville—said he personally arrested the two men, identifying the truck driver as Suon Born, an employee of the Uy Yong transportation company, and the alleged hijacker as Pho Rithy, a driver for the TCS transportation company.

“When I was told directly by representatives of the Uy Yong transport company to stop the truck, I drove a car to follow it. When the suspect saw my car, they slowed down and stopped,” Mr. Rithy said.

“Born jumped out of the truck and tried to run away, about 4 km…but ultimately we arrested both of them, one in the cab of the truck and the other in a rice field,” he said, adding that he also did not know what was stolen, as military police had not yet inspected the cargo.

Mr. Chanthorn said the men were sent to the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court yesterday.

Neither court nor company officials could be reached for comment.

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