A military police officer was arrested for allegedly firing his handgun in anger after a dispute with bodyguards who forced his vehicle to yield to Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema’s convoy while driving in the city Tuesday afternoon, police said.
Kep Chuktema’s convoy was driving on Street 380 near Norodom Boulevard toward the governor’s home in Chamkar Mon district when a sport utility vehicle approached from behind, said a Chamkar Mon police official who asked not to be named.
The governor was returning from a trip to Meanchey district where he had distributed food to victims of a fire that destroyed their homes on Sunday, the police official said.
When Kep Chuktema’s bodyguards tried to stop the military police officer’s vehicle, the driver passed them. The bodyguards then forced the driver over and when an argument ensued, the military police officer allegedly produced a pistol and fired once into the air and three times into the ground before trying to flee, the police official said.
The bodyguards shot the two back tires of the vehicle as it fled. A police search found the SUV about 20 minutes later on Mao Tse Tung Boulevard near the Chamkar Mon district office, the police official said. The driver was later taken to the district police station and questioned.
Reached by phone Tuesday from his home, Kep Chuktema said that at the time he didn’t know about the other vehicle and only heard about the shooting on his bodyguards’ walkie-talkies after the fact.
“I feel normal,” he said but would not comment further.
National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha said he was aware of the case but refused to comment. Ya Kim Y, municipal military police chief, said he was too busy working on the case to comment. Chamkar Mon district police Chief Hun Sothy and Phnom Penh municipal police Chief Heng Pov also refused to comment Tuesday.
“Please wait,” Hun Sothy said. “I need to report to my boss first.”