A shot was fired Wednesday morning during a police operation to arrest four dognappers who have allegedly stalked stray and pet canines in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district for months, officers said.
The four were arrested at around 2:30 am by police officers in Toul Sangke commune who were lying in wait for their arrival, commune police chief Khat Tarasy said.
Chhuon Sony, 44, Thach Trav, 24, Men Sitara, 35, and Chuon Rasmey, 25, were hunting for dogs on two motorcycles when they were spotted by police and ordered to stop, which involved the discharge of a bullet into the air, Khat Tarasy said.
The group admitted to snatching between 30 and 40 dogs over a period of months, and selling the captured animals to dog-meat restaurants near the city’s Doeum Kor and Samaki markets, he said.
With dog meat retailing at around $0.80 per kilogram, and an average dog weighing around 10 kg, the four suspects may have earned several hundred dollars from their late-night activity, police said.
Russei Keo district police chief Chey Soseila said the four have been charged with theft and will be sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court today.
Dog meat, known for giving a boost to the libido through its vaunted aphrodisiac properties, is enjoying increased popularity during the current cold spell, said meat vendors and consumers Thursday.
Motorcycle taxi driver Sotha Van, 34, said that he and others were eating dog meat to keep the cold out.
“Dog meat is a little expensive nowadays because the climate is a little cold,” Sotha Van said. “Dog meat makes our bodies warm,” he added.