Police shot an unarmed man suspected of dealing drugs in the stomach on Monday after a frantic chase in which four suspects escaped capture, officials said Tuesday.
Villagers in Russei Keo district’s Svay Pak commune called police to report suspicious activity by the five men, according to deputy municipal police chief Chuon Narin. When officers arrived, four men fled while Sok Ra, 31, took refuge in a stranger’s home.
Police surrounded the house and entered, guns raised, to arrest the man, said Mr. Narin, who claimed that the suspect lunged at police upon their entry and tried to wrestle away a gun from one of the officers.
“We had pointed the gun at the suspect and it discharged one time into his stomach,” he said.
Mr. Narin refused to identify the officer whose gun was discharged and said it would be up to the courts to determine if he should face any punishment.
He said the suspect, who was recently released from prison, remains at Calmette Hospital recovering from the injuries, which were not life-threatening.
Svay Pak commune chief Ho Samorn said that villagers contacted police because they recognized the group of men, specifically the suspect, as drug dealers.
Mr. Samorn said that the suspect was released from prison earlier this year after serving two or three years on drug charges.
“Mr. Ra was just released from jail. Everyone in the commune knows he is not a good person,” he said.