A bodyguard to Meanchey district Governor Kuoch Chamroeun was arrested on Friday for allegedly shooting a villager in the chest with a handgun during an attempted eviction in Stung Meanchey commune, police said.
Nath Sarouen, who is also a soldier in RCAF’s Brigade 70, shot villager Keo Ying, believed to be more than 50-years old, after Keo Ying threw rocks at police, said Municipal Penal Police Chief Touch Narin.
“We are keeping Nath Saroeun in jail because he shot the villager during Friday’s eviction. We will build up the case and send him to court, maybe [on Saturday],” Touch Narin said. Keo Ying is being treated at a private clinic and is in a stable condition, police said.
The incident occurred at around 9:40 am, when dozens of policemen and Phnom Penh Municipal Court officials tried to evict three families living in one home, so their land could be given to a private company, said Tep Bora, deputy commune police chief. The eviction was suspended after the shot was fired.
He said Keo Ying’s family had been allowed to live in a wooden house on state-owned land until the state decided to take the land back.
Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema said he regretted the incident. “[Nath Saroeun] was arrested for his actions. He has to get the heaviest offense,” he said. He added that Kuoch Chamroeun is not implicated in the incident because he was at City Hall at the time the incident occurred.
“We are sorry that the incident happened. City Hall needs land for development and we will pay the family compensation,” he said.
Kuoch Chamroeun and Brigade 70 officials could not be reached for comment.