Suspects Detained in Series of Phnom Penh Gold Shop Heists

Three men have been arrested and several firearms seized in connection with a series of robberies of gold shops in Phnom Penh that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars for the perpetrators, police said yesterday.

The three men are connected to 10 separate gold robberies, and one of the suspects was involved in the daring daylight robbery last month of five adjacent gold vendors at the Preak Leap market in Russei Keo district.

That incident saw thousands of dollars in cash and gold taken by a group of armed men, said deputy municipal police chief Pol Phiethey.

Six pistols and an AK-47 assault rifle were discovered during the raids and arrests on Friday, the deputy police chief said.

He added that seven other suspects were arrested for the robbery of motorcycles.

Pong Savirth, deputy chief of the municipal military police, said the men arrested were ordinary criminals and the ringleaders of the gold heists are still being sought. A middleman who purchased the stolen gold has also been detained.

Commenting on the Aug 28 Prek Leap market robbery, Prek Leap commune police chief Kong Savoeun said that a gang of six young men robbed five of the market’s seven gold vendors in the span of just a few minutes and, without firing a single shot, made off with about $60,000 in precious metal and more than $8,000 in cash.

“They acted swiftly. In just five to seven minutes they [robbed] five of the seven gold stalls in the market,” Mr Savoeun said.

A news conference will be held today regarding the arrests and the spate of gold shop robberies that have hit Phnom Penh in recent months, Mr Phie­they said.

He added that the remaining suspects in the Prek Leap market heist were known to have “robbed many places in the city.”

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