The Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged three men on Wednesday over the fatal shooting of a 37-year-old employee of a Daun Penh district convenience store during an argument, including a man identified by local news outlets as a military police officer.
Two of the suspects—Khieu Thornvandy and Nin Rin—were charged with intentional violence and carrying weapons without authorization, while a third, Phon Pheakdey, was charged with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances resulting in death, court spokesman Ly Sophana said.
The charge against Mr. Pheakdey carries a 15-year sentence, while the two other charges are punishable by up to three years in prison. All three suspects were placed in provisional detention, Mr. Sophana said.
A number of Khmer-language newspapers identified Mr. Pheakdey, the alleged shooter, as a military police officer in Daun Penh district, all citing anonymous sources in the municipal court. Court and military police officials contacted on Wednesday declined to comment on the reports.
Mr. Pheakdey allegedly shot Seun Chandarath, an employee of the Only You Mini Mart, on Saturday night. Conflicting accounts of the circumstances surrounding the shooting emerged in its aftermath.
A report posted to the National Police website on Sunday said Seun Chandarath was killed in front of the mini-mart at 9 p.m. on Saturday, after Mr. Thornvandy, one of his drinking companions, stepped away to get food and returned pursued by four assailants. Seun Chandarath interfered and was shot in the ensuing scuffle, the report said.
The Koh Santepheap and Nokorwat News Daily, however, reported that the argument at the mini-mart started after Mr. Pheakdey went there to confront Mr. Thornvandy over an earlier complaint from a bar owner next door about six men causing a disturbance.
Military police officials refused to offer any insight on Wednesday into the dispute or the motivation of those involved. “The working system requires that questions be directed to the spokesman,” said Thorng Piseth, commander of Daun Penh’s military police. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy, however, declined to offer any details about the case.