Payment Absolves Cop of Goldseller’s Killing

A policeman at large since shooting dead a 23-year-old in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district will return to duty after paying his victim’s family $3,000, senior officers confirmed Friday.

Phsar Chas commune deputy police chief Nuth Cheatra, 41, shot Hang Ban, a goldsmith, at point blank range in the neck and killed him at 1.30 am on Monday morning. According to police, Hang Ban was drunk and behaving disorderly at the time and had refused Nuth Cheatra’s order to go home.

When the goldsmith allegedly became abusive, Nuth Cheatra allegedly pistol-whipped him with a loaded K-59 handgun, which discharged. After the killing, Nuth Cheatra fled on a motorcycle with his weapon.

“The suspect will not be fired or removed from his position,” Daun Penh district police Chief Phan Pheng said on Friday.

“The families of the suspect and the victim have a mutual understanding, which is why they accepted compensation to end the matter as it will only waste time lodging a complaint at the court,” Phan Pheng said. “It was an accident.”

Phnom Penh Police Com-missioner Touch Naruth said that compensation given was $3,000.

Nuth Cheatra will not face arrest or criminal charges because the victim’s family has not lodged a complaint, the city’s police chief added.

“The family of the victim accepted $3,000 compensation from the family of the police o­fficer to end the matter because the victim was accidentally shot to death,” he said.

Touch Naruth said that Nuth Cheatra did not deserve to be jailed as he was a “a good police officer,” though he will be punished the “administrative way.”

Chan Soveth, investigator for local rights group Adhoc, said all the police officers involved in negotiation the $3,000 payment to Hang Ban’s family should be prosecuted.

Hang Ban’s family is intimidated and terrified, Chan Soveth said.

“Officials who try to help criminals by negotiating with the victim’s family or threatening them to accept compensation to drop charges or not complain to the court must all be prosecuted,” he said.

“To kill someone and then compensate them to end the matter is not acceptable…. Unfortunately, our authorities are absolutely weak in taking action or arresting any criminals who are senior government officials and rich people.”


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