A police officer was killed and a second badly injured in Phnom Penh on Saturday night after their motorbike was intentionally rear-ended while they were in pursuit of a truck loaded with valuable timber, officials said Sunday.
The two Prek Pnov district officers were on a patrol for robbers at about 9 p.m. when they spotted a truck with a suspicious-looking load of wood—likely illegally logged—and gave chase, tailing the vehicle to Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district before they were hit from behind, according to Chhim Kimhuy, chief of police in Prek Pnov.
“They chased the illegal logging truck for about 50 meters until the second car came from behind and crashed into them… with the intention to kill,” Mr. Kimhuy said.
“[The timber smugglers] escaped, but one of our officers died and the other is seriously injured.”
The police chief identified the dead officer as Sao Samnang, 26— who he said had been riding pillion at the time of the crash—and his surviving colleague as Keo Siengheng, 24, who had been driving the motorbike.
He said Mr. Siengheng suffered major head trauma and was in critical condition at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital, currently unable to offer police more information about the incident.
Chay Ieng, chief of the Ang Snuol district police’s investigations bureau, said he was cooperating with Prek Pnov police to identify the perpetrators, but had not yet made any headway.
“Our investigators are still in the dark,” he said.
A doctor at Calmette, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed last night that Mr. Siengheng had been brought there on Saturday evening. He said the officer was unconscious and had sustained serious wounds to his face and neck.
“He is in the emergency room for an operation,” the doctor said.