Prime Minister Hun Sen said Saturday he welcomed the arrest of his nephew early Friday morning following a shooting rampage at a popular Phnom Penh night club and shopping center.
Speaking at a ceremonial torching of marijuana plants in Kampot province Saturday, Hun Sen said he ordered the arrest of his nephew and did not sleep until Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara informed him early Friday morning that the arrest had taken place.
Hun Chea, 24, and six other men were arrested after they shot up a karaoke room at the Hollywood nightclub in Parkway Square shopping mall, police said. The group also fired bullets into the ceiling at a snooker hall in the shopping center and fired on police and military police as they made their escape, police said.
“In Phnom Penh, his excellency Chea Sophara reported to me that there is a [high ranking official’s] nephew among [the group]….If police did not arrest this nephew it would be a serious defamation of Hun Sen….I ordered directly [to arrest them] and put [them] in handcuffs. Then I went to sleep at 2 am,” Hun Sen said, according to a television broadcast.
“Do not be confused, every son, whoever’s son, even my son, if they commit wrong-doing, they must be punished by the law,” Hun Sen said.
Hun Chea is the son of one of Hun Sen’s older brothers, Hun San, who began working at the Ministry of Transportation during the State of Cambodia regime in the early 1980s, officials said Sunday. Hun San was most recently deputy director of the truck transportation department, which went bankrupt several years ago, they said. Hun Chea and the six other suspects were arrested at around 1 am Friday morning when they returned to the scene of the shooting with bodyguards to demand police hand back a confiscated vehicle.
Sim Hong, the city’s deputy military police commander who led the arrests, said Sunday that the seven will be sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to face a preliminary hearing early this week, perhaps today.
According to Sim Hong, the court should issue arrest warrants for the seven who are charged with using illegal weapons and damaging property.
Hun Chea, Chou Sarida, That Touch, Sok Visal, Som Mang, David Phang and Michel Soriya were held in custody over the weekend, said Sim Hong.
“All seven are detained in Military Police headquarters. None of them will be freed before they are sent to the court. None of their parents have intervened,” said Sim Hong. According to Sim Hong, the children of high-ranking officials regularly have caused trouble in Phnom Penh.
“We will not allow the youth of the next generation try to break the law anymore, especially the sons of high ranking officials….In the past there were so many gangsters….Almost all were sons of high ranking officials,” said Sim Hong, adding that after the arrests a member of the group threatened to kill him.