Officer Who Shot Suspected Looter Rewarded

Authorities have given a cash reward to the police officer who shot the testicles off a man who allegedly tried to loot antiquities in Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province, authorities said Tuesday.

The officer, Lim Kim Soth, shot Chea Sray, 33, of Kralanh district as Chea Sray allegedly was hiding in the thick forest near the Angkor Thom temple complex, provincial Heritage Police Chief Tan Chay said.

Heritage police on Saturday searched the forest for looters, Tan Chay said. When police dogs located Chea Sray and his alleged accomplice, the men tried to flee.

When they ignored the officers’ or­ders to stop, Lim Kim Soth opened fire, hitting Chea Sray in the thigh and groin, Tan Chay said. Lim Kim Soth was given 1 million riel ($256) for his marksmanship, Tan Chay said.

The police chief said Chea Sray identified his accomplice and said the other man convinced him to come to the forest west of Angkor Thom to dig for artifacts.

“Artifacts such as gold, bronze, copper and other precious metals are everywhere in Angkor Thom,” said Tan Chay. He said the artifacts were left there during battles in the Angkorian era.

Dougald O’Reilly, an archaeologist with the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh said looting is a problem around Ang­kor Thom, the former capital of Angkor. He said he has seen areas of the forest where up to 1 meter of the topsoil has been re­moved

Chea Sray is recovering in Siem Reap provincial hospital and will be taken to prison pending trial when he recovers, Tan Chay said.

(Additional reporting by David Shaftel)


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