Military Police Remain in Custody After Rally Shooting

Military police on Sunday said they were still holding two of their own officers arrested in an incident Friday during which shots were fired into the air as a scuffle broke out during an opposition party election rally in Phnom Penh.

According to accounts of the incident Friday evening, a Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) procession was making its way through the streets of Chamkar Mon district’s Phsar Doeum Thkov commune when supporters clashed with CPP supporters who were drinking at a party in a large villa.

Phnom Penh municipal military police Commander Ya Kim Y said two people initially detained over the shooting had been released, but two others, themselves military police officials, were still in custody.

“[Sunday] morning, we sent two people to the court for questioning: Ung Chanthan, a military police officer in Kandal province, who fired shots into the air, and Khy Kimlon, the owner of the villa [and a national military police official],” Mr. Kim Y said, declining to name the two people who were released.

“The prosecutor ordered the release of the two people because they were not involved in violence, they had just attended a birthday party,” he added.

According to Pou Davy, the deputy military police Commander for Phnom Penh, Mr. Chanthan and Mr. Kimlon—who holds the rank of colonel and is the deputy chief of the logistics bureau at the national military police—were still detained at the Phnom Penh military police headquarters last night.

He said they had not yet been charged, but that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had been questioning them for illegally discharging their guns.

Commune Chief Thorng Chhorn said the incident began when CNRP supporters spotted a CPP sign on a villa as they marched past. Supporters began shouting the number seven—the CNRP’s number on this year’s ballot paper—at the house, in which a party was under way, he said.

Mr. Chhorn said men inside the villa’s compound house responded with the CPP’s ballot number, four, causing CNRP supporters to throw stones, which broke the mirror of a car in the villa.

Ly Ry, a CNRP candidate for Phnom Penh in the July 28 election, denied that the stone throwing began with CNRP supporters, and said projectiles, including plates, were thrown at marchers from inside the villa’s compound.

Mr. Ry said he turned up at the scene after hearing that three CNRP supporters had been dragged into the villa and detained.

At that point he said, two youths on Honda Scoopy motorcycles emerged from the villa and attacked a growing crowd of mostly CNRP supporters.

“They would not allow us inside the villa and they came out firing and shooting into the air to threaten us,” Mr. Ry said, adding that when police officials arrived it appeared supporters had not been detained in the villa.

Young men inside the imposing, neo-classical villa’s compound fronted by a large gate topped by security cameras—on Sunday declined to speak with reporters.

National Election Committee Secretary-General Tep Nytha said officials at the Phnom Penh Election

Committee had viewed security camera footage of the incident, but would not reveal what it showed. “I cannot say. It is a personal issue between a family and campaigners,” he said.

“We know who committed this by throwing stones and firing shots, because it’s on security camera footage.”

(Additional reporting by Simon Lewis)

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