Security Guard Flees After Fatal Pagoda Shooting

A security guard is at large after allegedly shooting and killing a man during an attempt to break up two groups of people who were threatening each other with machetes over an altercation on a dance floor in Kandal province, police said on Thursday.

Koh Thom district police chief Muy Chan Pich said two groups of people became embroiled in an argument during a Pchum Ben holiday party at Porban commune’s Wat Tuol Reachea on Monday.

“The two groups were stopped and given advice,” he said.

But the next day, both groups returned to the pagoda at about 4 p.m., armed with machetes, and set about taunting each other, according to Mr. Chan Pich. Deputy commune police chief Ro Rany arrived and attempted to disperse the group, at one point holding one of the men, Yung Yoeun, in a headlock, he said.

Veng Tha, a 40-year-old commune security guard who accompanied Mr. Rany to the scene, was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and fired into the air to warn the groups to stop fighting, Mr. Chan Pich said. Mr. Yoeun, 30, then ran to Mr. Rany and tried to wrestle the gun from him but was shot during the tussle.

“The victim tried to attack the security guard even after [Mr. Tha] asked him to stop. He was shot with an AK-47,” Mr. Chan Pich said, adding that the victim was shot under the chin.

“The security guard was helping to carry [Mr. Rany’s] AK-47. He did not have the right to use it,” he added.

But Varn Vannak, provincial investigator for rights group Adhoc, said Thursday that Mr. Yoeun was shot in the back of the head, and accused Mr. Tha of shooting him intentionally.

Mr. Chan Pich said he did not know if Mr. Tha would face punishment, but that his office was preparing a report to send to the Kandal Provincial Court.

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