An RCAF officer accused of shooting dead a South Korean manager and critically wounding a Chinese deputy manager at a Phnom Penh garment factory on Saturday was charged with murder by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday.
RCAF Special Military Region information agent Chheang Deal, 45, who was originally identified by authorities as a military police officer, was charged in court with fatally shooting South Korean national Joo Kee Hahn, 52, and wounding Chinese national Fung Hong, 42, who remains in critical condition at Calmette Hospital.
Chuon Naren, a bureau chief at the municipal penal police department, said Chheang Deal was charged with murder by Deputy Prosecutor Nget Sarath. The arrest warrant was signed by Judge Tan Senarong.
“We pay much attention because the crime involved the killing and injuring of foreign investors in the garment industry,” Chuon Naren said Monday.
Chheang Deal was employed as a deputy manager at the Yong Min garment factory in Dangkao district where Joo Kee Hahn was chief of the production section and Fung Hong was a deputy manager.
Major General Prum Din, commander of RCAF Special Military Region, which includes Phnom Penh, Kandal province and Kompong Chhnang province, said that Chheang Deal did not possess a gun from his military unit where he worked as an undercover agent.
Prum Din said that Chheang Deal took the job at the factory to supplement his soldier’s salary.
Workers at the Yong Min factory were hesitant to talk about the shooting on Monday but alleged that Chheang Deal had often threatened workers with his gun and, in one instance, hit a machine mechanic. The workers, who declined to be identified out of fears for their security, also alleged that factory management knew that Chheang Deal had a gun but did not try to stop him from carrying it.
Chheang Deal and Joo Kee Hanh had been arguing for two days before the shooting, one worker said at the factory. The dispute began Saturday when Joo Kee Hanh ordered workers to remove Chheang Deal’s desk and chair. When Chheang Deal returned to the factory he told workers to replace his desk and chair, leading Joo Kee Hanh to again order the furniture removed.
Chheang Deal left the factory but returned an hour later and shot the Korean and Chinese managers, the worker said.