Police Suspended Over Man’s Death During Cockfight Raid

Six police officers in Tbong Khmum province who opened fire during a raid on an illegal cockfight that left a man dead were suspended from duty Wednesday, according to a provincial police official.

Chhay Oeun, 25, was shot dead on November 25 after being hit in the chest with a bullet as he watched the outdoor match in Memot district’s Chan Moul commune.

Four days later, 13 district and commune police officers were summoned for questioning. None have been charged over the shooting. Provincial police chief Mao Pov has twice said he believes that the victim was killed by a bullet that was fired into the air as a warning shot but ricocheted off a tree.

On Wednesday, the acting chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau, Chak Sok Kao, said that six police officers had been suspended and were being detained at the provincial police headquarters until the investigation was complete.

“As of today, we decided to suspend six district officers who were questioned last month, including deputy district police chief Chy Lim Heng…who led the raid on the cockfighting match last month,” he said.

The seven other officers were unarmed on the day of the raid and so could not be guilty of any wrongdoing, he added.

Mr. Lim Heng would not disclose the names of the five other suspects and said analyses were still being carried out on the bullet and its casing to determine whether police had fired directly at the victim.

“If we find that the owner of the gun had an intention to kill the man we will not protect him. We will sent him to the provincial court immediately to face the charges,” he said.

Yet Seng Kun, the 42-year-old father-in-law of Chhay Oeun, said that police already know who fired the gun.

“They know who the shooter is and know he intended to kill my son-in-law and they are trying to hide his identity,” he said.

sokhean@cambodiadaily.com

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