Police shot and killed two unidentified men suspected of riverfront holdups at about 7:30 pm Friday, after an exchange of gunfire on Phnom Penh’s busy Sisowath Quay.
Mok Sopha, chief of the police post in Daun Penh district’s Phsar Kandal commune, said Sunday the trouble began when police noticed two suspicious youths near the corner of Street 108 and Sisowath Quay.
When police tried to stop the youths, one of them sent the officers running for cover with shots from a modified AK-47 assault rifle concealed beneath his shirt, Mok Sopha said.
The suspects fled on foot into the neighborhood between the Tonle Sap river and Wat Phnom, firing shots intermittently at their pursuers, until police killed them both.
One of Mok Sopha’s deputies, Yen Kim Lean, 45, was slightly injured when a bullet grazed his head.
“He has good luck,” Mok Sopha said.
The shootout followed the killings of two other suspected thieves in a Friday morning gun battle in Tuol Kok district, in which a member of the elite Flying Tigers motorcycle police was injured.
A high-speed chase down Charles de Gaulle Boulevard preceded the killings. Once cornered, two suspects, both in their 20s, emptied their K-54 handguns at Prampi Makara district police.
Police said one of the dead suspects was Srey Chanthy, while the second went unidentified. Officer Chea Kim Hour, 34, was treated for a bullet wound to his left leg.
On Wednesday evening, a
suspected thief killed a Flying Tiger, shooting him in the head before escaping into a crowd.
Wednesday’s incident also occurred on Sisowath Quay, the riverfront strip popular for twilight cruising, at about 7 pm.
Last week, 752 monks and students sent a petition to Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema, asking him to improve security in the capital.
“We would like the governor to take action against robbery, prostitution, speeding motorbikes and gamblers,” the appeal read.
But on Sunday, Kep Chuktema said, “Phnom Penh has nothing to worry about [regarding] security and safety.”
He also dismissed a report in the Khmer-language newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea that said he promised increased police patrols and denied crime had increased in the capital.
“What happened in Phnom Penh? Nothing happened,” Kep Chuktema said.
Municipal Penal Police Chief Reach Sokhon last week acknowledged a surge in the capital’s crime rate and said he would require his officers to increase their patrol hours.