Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said Monday that he has asked Phnom Penh municipal police to investigate a series of paintball gun attacks on foreigners in the capital.
Thong Khon said he was informed about the paintball attackers from a travel agency this week but added that he didn’t have detailed information.
“I have already informed Phnom Penh municipality police to intervene,” he said by telephone before declining to comment further.
Paintball is a recreational sport in which players fire plastic pellets containing paint from a rifle-like gun powered by compressed air.
Several witnesses and victims of the paintball attackers said Monday that they were hit by perpetrators traveling in a black luxury car, possibly a Mercedes, with tinted windows. None of those interviewed were injured by the pellets, but the experience was annoying, they said.
Richie Munro, from Scotland, said he was shot five times in the chest and splattered with paint as he was walking along the riverside.
The pellets, which hurt a little, did not cause any injury, said Munro, adding that the paint was fired by teenagers driving past in a car.
“I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, so I didn’t call the police; it was just annoying,” he said.
In a separate incident, Munro’s sister, Rachel, said that she was walking on the riverfront when her friend was hit by paint pellets fired by teenagers also driving in a black car.
A 37-year-old American living in Phnom Penh claimed he was shot in the back when he and his friend were in a tuk-tuk driving around Independence Monument.
The man, who asked not to be named, said a black Mercedes drove up next to them, the window was wound down and one shot was fired, which splattered paint all over his shirt.
“We didn’t know if it was a real gun or not,” said the American, adding that after the attack, the Mercedes followed them to a nearby gas station where the assailants stopped and spoke with their tuk-tuk driver. “They told the driver that they were driving around shooting at their teachers. The tuk-tuk driver said they were not Cambodian.”
Police said Monday they had not received any complaints about people being splattered with paintball, and had not yet received orders to investigate.
“If we receive the complaints and the orders from the minister we will investigate the attacks,” Phnom Penh municipal deputy police chief Pol Phiethey said Monday.
Mot Moninto, on staff at the paintball park in Siem Reap province’s Pyramid Entertainment Center, said although paintball isn’t dangerous, it should only be played in appropriate places.
“It doesn’t hurt when it hits you if you wear the right clothes,” he said.
Injuries are rare but if the pellet hit a sensitive spot on the body such as an eye it could result in serious damage, he added.