Former RCAF colonel Sath Soeun admitted to shooting his companion after attending a wedding Sunday night in Kompong Cham town, a military police official said Tuesday.
Questioned Monday by a military police interrogator, Sath Soeun confessed he shot Hach Sovannary twice in the back because the latter verbally insulted him, said Deputy Military Police Commander Lak Leang.
Hach Sovannary, a Funcinpec RCAF lieutenant colonel for Military Region 2, had reportedly angered Sath Soeun by asking “why he behaved badly as a gangster in the past,” Lak Leang said.
Sath Soeun was infamous in Kompong Cham province for his links to a number of violent crimes throughout the 1990s. He was relieved of his military duty in 1998.
The latest incident occurred when the two men, who were traveling together on Sath Soeun’s motorbike, stopped on a roadside on the way home from a wedding.
Sath Soeun was arrested by military police Monday morning, but his arrest elicited complaints from some officials who claimed the military police had overstepped their bounds, encroaching the jurisdiction of the National Police.
Lak Leang acknowledged the arrest had been unlawful, but he said military police were forced to take action to make sure Sath Soeun did not escape.
“[Sath Soeun] is for sure a scary gangster,” he said.
Judicial police Chief Seng Sokhim agreed the military police were allowed to make the arrest to prevent the suspect from fleeing. But he said his police force has now taken over the investigation.
Lak Leang said military police turned Sath Soeun over to the provincial prison Tuesday.
Kampong Cham Court Director Tith Sothy said a judge has been assigned to the case, but no charges have yet been made.
He estimated the investigation would take about three months before a trial date is set. Hach Sovannary remains in the provincial hospital in serious condition.