Extra police have been dispatched to guard gold shops in Phnom Penh following a spate of daring armed robberies and Friday’s ruthless killing of a police officer, who was shot while moonlighting as a security guard at a gold retailer near Phsar Thmei, police said Monday.
Deputy Municipal Police Chief Heng Pov said the police reinforcements have been deployed to areas where large numbers of gold outlets are located. Heng Pov declined to reveal how many officers are involved in the security buildup.
Huy Song, Daun Penh district deputy penal police chief, said Monday that 10 extra district police and five military police officers have been ordered to guard shops in the Daun Penh area, which includes the gold-selling hub Phsar Thmei.
On Friday, commune police officer Ton Khim Sunly was shot twice as robbers raided the Phnom Penh Gold Shop in Phsar Thmei I commune, just north of Phsar Thmei. Moonlighting as a security guard, Ton Khim Sunly was seated at the entrance to the shop when he was shot dead by the approaching robbers, Huy Song said.
“We are investigating this case, but in the first step [of the investigation], we know that there were four thieves who were at the scene,” he said.
Phnom Penh Gold Shop owner Tiang Meng, 47, told police the robbers took gold and diamonds valued at about $100,000 in the robbery, Huy Song said.
Shop owners on Sunday said that, even with security precautions, they are concerned for their businesses and their safety.
“Our businesses are at high risk of robbery, despite the fact that we have paid a lot of money each month to hire local authorities and police guards,” said a 69-year-old Phsar Thmei shop owner, who declined to be named.
“I know that there is always turmoil during Cambodia’s elections,” he said. “But I don’t know what the police are doing now, because we are running our businesses with fear.”