Police Chief Arrested for Firing AK in Dispute

A commune police chief in Mondolkiri province has been arrested after being accused of threatening his wife and firing his state-issued AK-47 assault rifle during an argument at a relative’s home.

Ra Borith, the 44-year-old police chief of Pech Chreada district’s Sre Ampoum commune, was arrested by provincial police on Monday and taken to police headquarters, where he remained in detention on Tuesday, said Touch Yun, the provincial police chief.

Mr. Borith was arrested within hours of firing his rifle and “threatening” his wife, but it was unlikely he would be referred to the provincial court as the case will be reviewed according to police disciplinary procedures, Mr. Yun said.

The incident occurred while the chief’s wife was visiting her parents in Sre Ampoum commune. Her drunken husband called and demanded that she return home, but she refused, said deputy provincial police chief So Sovann.

During questioning on Tuesday, the chief told police that he then walked to his in-laws’ house, where the couple argued and fought before he unintentionally fired his gun, Mr. Sovann said. “According to him, the gun’s trigger was pulled accidentally,” he added.

A disciplinary committee made up of officials, including the provincial police chief and two deputies, will decide how to proceed.

“If it is serious we would send him to the court, and if it is minor and we investigate and find that he did fire the gun unintentionally we would punish him according to the law on the disciplining of police,” Mr. Sovann said, “like a warning, removing him from his position or downgrading his rank.”

Ros Sopheap, executive director of the gender equality group Gender and Development for Cambodia, urged the government to remove the commune police chief in order to send a clear message to the community that violence would not be tolerated.

“The law is not enforced, that is why people keep on doing it,” she said. “It is time for the government to change, to think about how to reinforce the rule of law.”

(Additional reporting by Sonia Kohlbacher)


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