Second Cop Dies From Drug Raid Shooting

A Phnom Penh police officer shot during a drug raid Tuesday died Wednesday morning from his injuries, the second officer to die as a result of the botched operation, police said.

Anti-drug unit officer Sreng Bunareth, 37, died in Calmette Hospital at around 6 am from a bullet wound to his stomach, municipal anti-drug police chief Touch Muysor said.

“We are very sorry for Sreng Bunareth’s death. He was with our anti-drug police for 10 years,” he said.

Fellow anti-drug unit officer Chhoeung Virak, 36, was shot and killed on Tuesday during the same raid that nabbed drug suspect Kep Samon, 27, in a room at the Ly Meng Thmei guesthouse in Daun Penh district’s Phsar Thmei II commune.

With his hands cuffed in front of him, Kep Samon allegedly reached inside his trousers to retrieve a concealed Colt-45 pistol and fired eight shots, hitting five police officers with seven bullets.

Officers Soeung Yutha, 37, Chi Bunleng, 25, and Ung Chanthy, 35, are still being treated for gunshot wounds at Calmette Hospital, and are all in stable condition, Touch Muysor said.

Kep Samon, who was apprehended by penal police as he attempted to flee the guesthouse, is still in anti-drug police custody and will be sent to the municipal court today, Touch Muysor said. He added that police are searching for four associates of Kep Samon’s.

Lour Ramin, secretary-general of the National Authority for Com­bating Drugs, said Wednes­day that the shooting was the first of its kind and added that his department is doing its best to learn from the incident.

“We’ve never seen drug dealers kill police like this,” Lour Ramin said.

“The problem occurred because of the carelessness of the police, but it is also a valuable lesson for us,” he said.

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