No Arrest Yet in November Shooting in Banteay Meanchey

More than three months after a man was allegedly shot dead by a military police officer in Banteay Meanchey, there has yet to be an arrest, a rights group official and the victim’s parents said yesterday.

On Nov 20, Phuon Theam, 18, was driving a truck carrying five of his friends in Malai district when military police ordered him to stop. According to friends at the time, Phuon Theam failed to bring his truck to an immediate stop because the road was muddy, at which point one of the officers, identified as Van La, allegedly shot and killed him.

Since then, the Banteay Mean­chey Provincial Court has been slow to move the case forward, said Soum Chankea, the provincial coordinator for Adhoc.

“Currently, we have yet to hear of an arrest warrant being issued from court officials to authorize the police and military police officials to arrest the suspect,” Mr Chankea said.

He added that the case has been in the hands of investigating Judge Pich Vichea Thou, but they have not seen the alleged perpetrator brought to justice.

“Adhoc is urging police officials to arrest the perpetrator as soon as possible, and we are also investigating court officials for the slow response to the case.”

The victim’s father, Som Phuon, said that a few days after his son’s death, provincial police came to offer him about $3,125 to help pay for the funeral.

“I did not accept the money,” Mr Phuon said. “I want police officers to arrest the suspect so that the man who shot my son dead can be penalized for his crime.”

Court and police officials were reluctant to talk about the case.

Sar Sambo, a court clerk, said an arrest warrant was handed down, but did not know when. “The court is processing the procedure.”

Judge Vichea Thou was not available to comment.

Rath Srieng, provincial military police chief, said, “I don’t know [the latest in this case]. I am busy in Phnom Penh.”

Ork Borin, deputy commander of the military police, said, “I don’t know where [the suspect] is,” declining to comment further.


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