Six men linked to armed robbery cases across seven provinces in the past three years were arrested in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district after a brief shootout with police on Thursday, officials said.
In a statement posted to the National Police’s website on Sunday, the suspects were identified as Thoem Thea, 48; Chea Pich, 35; Morm Khon, 48; O Vorn, 24; Chea Ratha, 42; and Bit Toeu, 35, the alleged mastermind of the crimes.
The men were en route to rob a Wing money transfer shop in Kraing Yov commune when local police, who had been tipped off about the heist, pulled them over, said In Bora, director of the Interior Ministry’s central judicial department. A firefight ensued, he said.
“When we stopped their car, a man, who is the mastermind, shot at our police, who shot back,” Mr. Bora said, adding that the suspects unsuccessfully attempted to flee.
Mr. Bora said his department decided to send the men to the court in Kompong Chhnang province, where they allegedly killed a woman during a robbery in 2014. Police are searching for a seventh suspect, identified as Tuy Pok, who is believed to have fled to Oddar Meanchey province.
Mr. Bora said the gang had been involved in 10 armed robberies in the provinces of Prey Veng, Kompong Chhnang, Takeo, Kratie, Tbong Khmum, Kompong Cham and Kandal.
The National Police report said that police also confiscated two K59 handguns with 10 bullets and one AK-47 assault rifle with 22 bullets, as well as a a Honda Dream motorbike, from the suspects’ hideout in Kandal province.
Kem Samleng, deputy prosecutor at the Kompong Chhnang Provincial Court, said the suspects were sent from the Interior Ministry in Phnom Penh to the provincial police station on Sunday and would be sent to the provincial court today.