Waitress Hurt After Drunken Soldier Shoots Gun

A waitress was injured when a drunk­en RCAF officer opened fire in anger because the management of Phnom Penh’s up-market XO Club were slow in moving him to a larger karaoke room, police said Wed­nesday.

Sin Sothearak, 32, a deputy bu­r­eau chief in RCAF’s logistics department, was detained at the club about 30 minutes after the Sunday night shooting, said Khuon Sam Ol, military police chief for Cham­kar Mon district.

The RCAF officer was heavily in­toxicated and fired at a glass table in his karaoke room, complaining that the manager was taking too long to move him and his friends, Khuon Sam Ol said.

Chek Sreypov, 21, who was serving ice to the men, was injured when a shard of glass from the table flew into her hand, he said.

Khuon Sam Ol said the injured waitress did not file a police complaint against the officer, who was later handed over to the municipal military police.

Municipal military police officials said they were unable Wednesday to confirm if Sin Sothearak was still in detention.

At least four waitresses working at beer gardens or karaoke parlors have been injured in shootings this year involving drunken police and RCAF officials. None of the shooters have been prosecuted.

Defense Minister Tea Banh said he had not received a report of the latest karaoke shooting.

“RCAF rules” stipulate that Sin Sothearak should be punished, said Tea Banh, though he did not disclose what that punishment might entail.

“We need to consider his mistake first,” Tea Banh said.

Mu Sochua, former minister of women’s affairs and SRP member, said police and military officials could not be trusted to take action against their own.

Little has been done to curb the “cul­ture of impunity” among local of­ficials who abuse their powerful pos­itions, she added. “This is where the justice system in Cam­bo­dia fails,” she said.

(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Tomei)


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