The shooting was apparently a retaliatory attack for the beating of a member of the RCAF’s elite Battalion 70 following a fracas at a party in the village earlier in the night, said Chea Vuth, Kompong Speu deputy police chief .
Thloak Sroy, 24, died in the hospital of gunshot wounds after the attack at 11 pm on Boeng Chram Khang Thbong village, Preah Nipean commune, Kong Pisei district, Chea Vuth said.
“Thloak Sroy was attempting to buy grilled beef for his wife, who recently gave birth to a baby, when there was gunfire,” Chea Vuth said.
Witnesses claim that a man named “Phally”—reportedly a B70 soldier—was among four men beaten by a gang of youths after a fight broke out over toes being stomped during raucous dancing at a post-rice harvest party, Chea Vuth said.
Around 30 minutes after the fight, two cars with sirens arrived and 10 men, whom villagers described as soldiers, alighted with rifles and fired around seven bullets at the villagers, witnesses told police.
A full clip, which contains some 30 bullets, was fired into the air as the group made their escape in the direction of Phnom Penh, Chea Vuth added.
Chea Vuth also said that the father-in-law of the suspect “Phally,” who lives in the attacked village, has since fled his home.
“If the man called Phally is arrested, we will know who shot at the villagers,” he said.
Kompong Speu Province Military Police Commander Men Siborn said Tuesday it was unclear if the attackers were soldiers, but that he will investigate the case.
Brigade 70 Commander Mao Sophan also said Tuesday that the nicknames provided of the alleged attackers were not on his troop list.
“The names are nicknames, so it is hard to find them on the list,” Mao Sophan said.