Police Question Officers Involved In Death During Cockfight Raid

Police in Tbong Khmum province have begun questioning 13 district and commune officers involved in a raid on a cockfighting match last week at which a spectator was shot dead, but still believe the shooting was an accident.

Chhay Oeun, 25, was watching the clandestine match in Memot district’s Chan Moul commune on November 25 when police arrived and opened fire, hitting him in the chest.

On the day of the raid, provincial police chief Mao Pov said the officers had only shot their guns into the air in warning once the spectators started to flee and that the bullet that struck Chhay Oeun had ricocheted off of a tree.

On Tuesday, Mr. Pov said he still believed that to be the case after questioning some of the 13 officers involved in the raid.

“It was an accident caused by our officers; they did not intend to kill anyone,” he said. “But the provincial deputy prosecutor wants us to review the case again.”

Chak Sok Kao, acting head of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau, said the 13 officers being questioned were still being held at provincial police headquarters.

“They claim that they shot many times into the air to warn the perpetrators not to run away and had no intention of pointing their guns at anyone,” Mr. Sok Kao said.

“Now we are testing the shells that were collected at the scene to find out who they belong to,” he added. “If we find out that someone intended to kill the man, we will send him to court to face charges.”

Mr. Sok Kao said three of the five men arrested at the scene have been charged with gambling and placed in pretrial detention. The other two were released for a lack of evidence.

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