Police in Phnom Penh are seeking the young occupants of a sport utility vehicle with Interior Ministry license plates who fired volleys of bullets in the air and at the ground on Tuesday night before driving away, officials said Thursday.
A man fired one shot in the air at about 11:30 pm on Kampuchea Krom Boulevard, and several men appeared to fire about 15 more rounds in rapid succession five minutes later before leaving the scene in the white Toyota Land Cruiser, police and witnesses said.
“Our investigation police are researching and the police number plate is being investigated by our Ministry of Interior. We need to make sure we find and arrest the gunmen,” Prampi Makara district police chief Yim Simany said.
The men fired their weapons because they were drunk, and several other men nearby retaliated by firing their own guns in the air, said Municipal Police Commissioner Touch Naruth.
Touch Naruth, who earlier this week had to deal with the involvement of a district police officer in the shooting of a female singer in a karaoke parlor, said he believed the police license plates were fake. The license numbers belong to an official in Prey Veng province who was not involved, he said.
Also, the young men were not the children of high-ranking government officials, the city’s top police official added.
Kuy Phala, Mittapheap commune police chief, said police collected 16 spent cartridges from the scene.
“[Residents] were frightened by the sound of shooting. Those gangs fire guns for fun,” he said.
Streetside vendors at the scene of the shooting said they hear guns being fired most weeknights by young men eating late-night meals after returning from nightclubs.
“The guests were all heavily drunk, but there is always gunfire around midnight,” said Muy Theng, a porridge vendor who witnessed the shooting.