Two police officers who shot a 29-year-old man in the chest in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district on Sunday night because he would not pay them a bribe have been removed from their jobs and were to be sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday.
The officers are accused of shooting Dy Vichet after he refused to pay them money at an unofficial police checkpoint on Street 598.
“The national police commissioner [General Neth Savoeun] ordered them to be fired from the national police and allowed them to be sent to the court,” Lieutenant General Chuon Sovann, Phnom Penh police chief said.
Lt. Gen. Sovann identified the officers as You Sokkea, a member of the municipal police anti-drug bureau, and Kong Dara, a Chraing Chamreh II commune police officer.
According to the victim’s wife, Vath Sreyleak, the officers had demanded a cash bribe and insulted her husband, at which point he drove away from the checkpoint with the officers giving chase on their motorcycles. When one of them threw a rock at the vehicle’s wing mirror, Mr. Vichet stopped his van and got out to inspect the damage. One of the officers then shot him at close range before both fled on their motorcycles.
“Although they are high-ranking, they are still guilty because they violated the law,” Phnom Penh deputy police chief Colonel Chuon Narin said.
Chraing Chamreh II commune police chief Seam Kimchheang said that Mr. Dara, who has been a police officer for more than 20 years, claimed to be innocent.
“He told me that he did not shoot the victim and had not arrived at the scene where it [the shooting] happened,” Mr. Kimchheang said.
Som Bunny, Phnom Penh anti-drug police chief, confirmed that Mr. Sokkea had been a member of his bureau but declined to comment further on the shooting.
Ms. Sreyleak said on Tuesday that her husband was still in the hospital, but that his condition was improving. On Monday, doctors removed from his chest a bullet that had just missed his heart.
Ms. Sreyleak, who is demanding $12,000 in compensation, also urged the court to punish the police officers who shot her husband. “We ask the court, please punish them [the officers] seriously,” she said.