A trash scavenger was left seriously injured in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district in the early hours of on Tuesday morning after he was apparently shot by an unidentified person in a Lexus SUV, although police said they were unsure if he was shot with a gun.
Witnesses in Toul Tompoung I commune said they heard what sounded like a gunshot before Van Sophea, the 36-year-old scavenger, fell, said commune police chief Sim Chhoeun, adding that no bullet casings were found and no one saw anyone shooting a gun.
“We don’t know what the reason was [for the attack] but it might be that he put his cart to block the street and someone got angry and shot him,” Mr. Chhoeun said. “We’re not sure whether his injuries were really because of the shooting, or from something else.”
Mr. Chhoeun said witnesses only saw a Lexus RX 300 suddenly depart the scene after the event and presumed that the assailant was in the car.
“Now we are searching for more information and waiting for the surgery results to see whether it was a bullet or something else,” he said.
Sourn Samith, chief of the emergency ward at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, where Mr. Sophea was sent, said the victim was admitted there early on Tuesday but that he too did not know whether he was struck by a bullet.
“We received him and resuscitated him, and then we immediately sent him to the operations section,” Dr. Samith said. “We looked at the film [X-ray] and saw something stuck in his waist bone but we don’t know what it is.”
“He got serious injuries but it is not a danger to his life. We have now treated him and we are still keeping watch over the development of his illness,” he added.
Chamkar Mon deputy district governor Bun Sopheak said that he was unaware of the incident, while deputy district police chief Heang Thareth declined to comment.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Bun Sopheak as the governor of Chamkar Mon district. He is a deputy district governor.