Finger-pointing and contradicting stories have stalled a police investigation into Sunday night’s shootout between bodyguards of Hun To, a nephew of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and four assailants.
One of the four gunmen said Tuesday they were trying to rescue the sister-in-law of a Cambodian-Australian man, who he identified as Alex Sith. The man said the young woman was forced by Hun To to join his party in a beer garden outside the Parkway Square shopping center.
“Hun To used his power to threaten the girl and force her to sit with him,” said the man, who was the only person injured when both sides opened fire on each other around 10:40 pm, peppering the beer garden and surrounding cars with about 50 bullets.
“Mr Sith went to get his sister-in-law, but when we arrived, Hun To ordered his bodyguards to shoot us dead,” the man said. He added that Alex Sith has since fled the country with his wife and sister-in-law, returning to Australia, where he operates a small business and bakery.
Hun To, who the day after the shooting said he did not know the gunmen, said Tuesday he was only talking to a young woman in the beer garden when he was threatened by the other men.
“They yelled at my group and I ordered my bodyguards to see what this was about,” Hun To said. “But they only took two steps and the men shot at them, so my bodyguards shot back.”
Hun To said he has lodged a complaint with local police, disputing claims that Alex Sith has left the country and demanding that arrests be made.
Police have identified at least two of the gunmen but have not made any arrests, municipal penal police chief Khuon Sophorn said Tuesday.
Despite having to sift through conflicting and changing stories, police agreed that the shootout was likely a fight over a woman.