A man was fatally shot and two of his relatives seriously injured during an armed robbery at their home in Battambang province on Wednesday night, local officials said on Thursday, the latest in a spate of similar violent attacks across the country.
Chhun Voeun, deputy military police commander in Kamrieng district, said the family owned a grocery store next to their home and left open the gate to the compound late into the night because their children were having a party, thereby leaving an opening for the robbers, who struck at about 10 p.m.
“While they were having fun drinking, five men quickly came in from outside with weapons in their hands, threatening the family to give them their property,” he said.
Mr. Voeun said the robbers ordered the family to gather up their money and jewelry, but grew angry when they perceived the victims to be stalling and opened fire.
He said the father, Phon Pean, 54, was shot in the chest and died at a hospital in Thailand that night. The man’s son, Phon Laymeng, 32, was shot in the left shoulder, he added, while an unidentified relative was beaten with an iron bar.
Mr. Voeun said police recovered multiple bullet casings from an AK-47 assault rifle and K-59 pistol but had not yet identified any of the intruders.
“We are having difficulty investigating because the suspects were wearing ski masks, so no one saw their faces,” he said. “They saw only their eyes.”
District police chief Than Channara said the robbers fled about 15 minutes before police arrived and made off with 1.3 damlung (about 48.75 grams) of platinum jewelry, but no money.
Deputy provincial police chief Chet Vanny said he was leading the investigation.
“Today, our officers investigated the scene to collect clues. We are burning our hands and feet to arrest the suspects,” he said.
Mr. Vanny said his officers were cooperating with local military police to improve security in the province, declining to elaborate.
Following a spate of armed robberies last month, Interior Minister Sar Kheng ordered provincial police chiefs to step up efforts to investigate and apprehend offenders or risk being stripped of their positions and ranks.
On Tuesday, National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun called a meeting to discuss the scourge of violent robberies, during which the interior minister’s orders were reiterated, according to National Police spokesman Saran Komsath.