Surrounded by Officers, Suspect Shoots Himself

A man suspected of robbing a Phnom Penh mobile phone shop at gunpoint on Thursday fatally shot himself in the head as military police surrounded his rented apartment the next morning, officials said.

Heng Sokmean, 33, a Chinese-language translator living in Rus­sei Keo district, allegedly made away with multiple smartphones after holding up the shop in Tuol Kok district at about 1:30 p.m. on Thurs­day, according to Kann Sok, dep­uty military police commander in Russei Keo.

After learning of the robbery, senior military police officials circulated security-camera footage of Mr. Sokmean taken inside the shop and ordered officers across the city to search for him, Mr. Sok said.

Military police located his apart­ment in Svay Pak commune on Thursday evening and began stak­ing it out, he said.

By 6 a.m., Mr. Sok said, he and about 20 officers had surrounded the building and asked the landlord to knock on Heng Sokmean’s door in an attempt to coax him out. When there was no reply, he ordered the suspect to come outside.

“I was shouting, ‘If you do not open the door, I will break down the door to get you out. So, please, seriously think about your wife and daughter’s safety,’” Mr. Sok recounted.

As he continued knocking on the door, Mr. Sok said, he heard a muffled bang. Moments later, Heng Sokmean’s wife and daughter ran from the apartment in tears.

“The quiet sound I heard from the room was the gunshot—him shooting himself in the bathroom,” he said.

Upon entering the apartment, mil­itary police found the man slumped on the bathroom floor in a pool of his own blood, a pistol resting on his leg.

“The suspect should not have shot himself like that,” Mr. Sok said. “If he really robbed the phone shop, he wouldn’t have been in pris­on long.”

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