Village Chief Charged in Attempted Slaying

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday charged a deputy village chief and another man with attempting to kill Phnom Penh court Prosecutor Ngeth Sarath in a robbery and extortion case gone wrong, officials said.

The two men charged—Tuol Sangke Deputy Village Chief Veang Sarath and Kao Som, the driver for the Tuol Sangke commune chief—have also been charged with illegal use of a weapon, said Ouk Savouth, chief prosecutor for the municipal court, on Thursday.

“This isn’t a confusing case—we have found enough evidence to prove [the guilt of the ac­cused],” Ouk Savouth said.

Ngeth Sarath, who spoke about the case Thursday, said that on Saturday he drove with his three children to Tuol Sangke commune, Russei Keo district, to visit his relative. When he arrived and parked at his relative’s house, a red motorcycle with the two suspects parked in front of Ngeth Sarath’s car, he said.

“I was very afraid for my security, so I took out my gun and walked out of the car,” Ngeth Sarath said. “But one man pulled out a gun and pointed at me first.”

He said that both men asked him why he was carrying a gun, and then shoved him into his car, where the three men fought, Ngeth Sarath said.

“They wanted to extort my money because they saw I had a gun,” Ngeth Sarath said, adding that Veang Sarath and Kao Som couldn’t have assumed that he was an illegal weapons user because he had his three children in the car with him.

Ngeth Sarath said that he didn’t tell the men he was a court prosecutor because he feared for his safety. At some point, Ngeth Sarath ran out of the car. A Tuol Sangke commune official, Keo Vandara, heard the commotion and ran to help.

Veang Sarath shot at and missed Ngeth Sarath, instead hitting his friend Keo Vandara. Keo Vandara was shot through the chest but is in stable condition, said Tuol Sangke commune Police Chief Khath Darasy.

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