Police Trainee Wanted Following Drunken Shooting

Police in Kompong Cham prov­ince are hunting a police trainee accused of gunning down an SRP commune councilor Mon­day evening, officials said.

Deputy Provincial Police Chief Seng Sokhim denied that the killing was politically motivated, saying Long Sopheak, 22, shot Thoeng Thea, 27, in the head after the two had a drunken row at a Ponhea Krek district soup stall.

“I do not like this accusation that the killing was politically motivated. This is a dispute that occurred when they were drinking,” Seng Sokhim said. He added that Long Sopheak was a new police recruit and had not officially started work.

According to SRP district representative Tep Kosal, one of the police trainee’s friends accused Thoeng Thea, of Popel commune council, of being an impoverished SRP member of little consequence.

An argument then ensued, and the police trainee shot Thoeng Thea in the head, Tep Kosal said.

“This killing was politically motivated because they criticized the victim for being a cheap Sam Rainsy Party member,” he said.

He added that other policemen were present at the shooting, but they did not arrest the gunman. He also claimed that Long Sopheak is the younger brother of a district official.

Seng Sokhim denied other policemen were present at the scene, and would not say whether the alleged perpetrator is related to a district official.

SRP leader Sam Rainsy said he was attending Thoeng Thea’s funeral at the victim’s home.

“There are violent acts in Cam­bo­dia and they are not finished,” he said. “Sam Rainsy Party members make up most of the victims.”


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