Woman Shot in Head, Shoulder After Robbery in Phnom Penh

A woman remained in serious condition Monday night after being shot in the head and shoulder by armed robbers who targeted her as she left a party in Phnom Penh the previous evening, police said on Monday.

Theam Rith Deka, 32, was walking to her car with her 3-year-old daughter after leaving a birthday party in Tuol Kok district’s Toek La’ak II commune when two men driving a Honda Scoopy motorbike drove up, brandished a K-54 handgun and demanded that she hand over her purse, commune police chief Taon Ravy said.

Ms. Rith Deka relinquished the bag—which contained $3,200 in cash and two iPhones—and began to run away, but one of the robbers shot her twice, in the left shoulder and in the head behind her left ear, Mr. Ravy said. The victim’s daughter was unharmed, while Ms. Rith Deka was sent to Calmette Hospital.

Mr. Ravy said police had not yet identified the robbers, but were investigating the case.

Peng Roeun, a security guard who was working across the street at the time of the crime and witnessed the shooting, said that although bag snatchings were common in the area, it was unusual for robbers to shoot their victims after getting what they wanted.

“She had a gun pointed at her and then she gave away her bag, but then she screamed, so they shot her,” he said, adding that both robbers were wearing motorcycle helmets.

A doctor at Calmette Hospital, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said Ms. Rith Deka was on the mend, but that her wounds were severe and could affect her quality of life in the future. Although the bullet that hit her head did not penetrate her brain, it entered with enough force to crack her skull, he said.

“As she has a cracked skull and a blood clot in her brain, she needs to stay in the hospital for at least five days,” the doctor said.

“She still has her life, she is not dead, but she will have problems in the future,” he added. “She will have problems with remembering and her mental functioning.”

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