RCAF Officer Arrested in Public Gunfire Incident

Military police in Phnom Penh arrested an RCAF lieutenant on Tuesday night after he allegedly shot his pistol into the air near Sorya Shopping Center while intoxicated, municipal military police said.

Koeut Sidet, 27, is expected today to be released from military police custody to his 70th Infantry Brigade superiors, who will punish him, said municipal military police deputy chief Pong Savrith.

“This is an undisciplined soldier. He got drunk and fired his gun for fun to scare people, so we will punish him by the rules of RCAF,” he said, adding that because no one was injured and no property was damaged the case would be dealt with internally.

Lieutenant Sidet had been drinking at a small restaurant on Street 154 in Daun Penh district when he became impatient with a friend who was retrieving his motorcycle, Mr Savrith said. The lieutenant then allegedly fired his gun into the air outside the restaurant, and military police patrolling nearby responded to the scene, he said.

They arrested him and confiscated gun, he said, adding that the lieutenant blamed the incident on his drunken state.

Neither Major General Mao Sophan, the commander of the 70th Infantry, nor Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat, the defense ministry spokesman, could be reached for comment yesterday.

In April, Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged RCAF Brigadier General Tep Phrearum with illegal weapon use for allegedly firing his weapon on busy Street 278, which is frequented by tourists.

The bullet reportedly ricocheted off a wall and grazed a British teacher’s foot at Elsewhere pool lounge.


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