Shots Fired at Hun To, Hun Sen’s Nephew

Four pistol-wielding men stepped out of their Toyota Cam­ry Sunday night and opened fire on Hun To, nephew of Prime Min­ister Hun Sen, and his wife as they were eating in a beer garden outside the Parkway Square shop­ping center, police said.

Throwing himself to the ground, Hun To escaped the hail of bullets, municipal police Chief Sourn Chhengly said Monday.

Police said the gunmen fired nearly 50 shots at the party, which also included relatives of Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, before stepping back into their car and escaping.

A Hun To bodyguard fired back, hitting one of the assailants, said Khun Sophorn, municipal penalty police chief. He said he thought the gunmen were Cam­bo­dians who recently returned from Australia, adding, “We have a suspect.”

The shooting, which occurred around 10:40 pm, was the result of a “personal dispute,” one police officer said.

“Gunfire threw all the tables into chaos. Hun To could not re­act. This problem happened very fast,” said Kuch Chamroeun, dep­uty governor for Chamkar Mon district.

Hun To said he spent much of Monday trying to piece the incident together with authorities.

“Someone tried to assassinate me. I do not know where these offenders are from, but I complained to the police…who are doing an investigation to arrest them all,” he said.

Though crime has generally decreased in Cambodia, the country’s culture of violence and the freewheeling habits of Phnom Penh’s elite remain a volatile mix.

The children of high-ranking government officials, including nephews of Hun Sen, are alleged to have been involved in several brawls and other violent acts.

Nephew Hun Pisey was de­tained in mid-1999 for allegedly injuring two men in a nightclub shooting. His younger brother, Nhim Pov, was sought after three Japanese tourists were beaten and stabbed with broken bottles outside the same nightclub late last year. Nhim Pov was arrested last month and briefly jailed after he allegedly fired shots outside a karaoke parlor.

Another Hun Sen nephew, Hun Chea, was arrested in Feb­ru­ary 2000 after a group he was with allegedly shot up a karaoke room and a snooker hall at Park­way Square.

Responding to what he called a history of trouble, Hun Sen last month ordered all of Cambodia’s nightclubs and karaoke parlors closed in an attempt to reduce similarly violent outbursts.

 

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