Ex-soldier tried over DJ’s shooting

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The accused leaves court. KT/Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a former soldier who shot and injured a DJ at the Rock Entertainment Centre in the capital in 2017.

Judge Heng Kesaror identified the accused as Duch Sovannareth, 31, an ex-captain at the Defence Ministry.

He said the accused was charged with intentional acts of violence with aggravating circumstances and faces two to five years in jail if convicted. Mr Sovannareth was arrested on January 4 last year by Interior Ministry penal police in Oddar Meanchey province.

Judge Kesaror said that at about 12pm on November 28, 2017, Mr Sovannareth and his friends, Keo Phirun and Lor Pich Seiha, went to drink and dance at Rock Centre. He said they were there until about 2am on November 29.

Judge Kesaror said that the accused and his friends got into an argument with DJ Bia Sam Oeun, 33, for not playing music they had requested.

He said that during the argument, Mr Sovannareth took out a pistol and fired five bullets at the floor in front of the victim’s legs in order to scare him. The bullets ricocheted and hit Mr Sam Oeun’s right leg and hand, causing serious injuries.

“After shooting the victim, the accused ran away but his driver was arrested by military police at Rock Centre that night,” Judge Kesaror said. “The victim was rescued by military police and sent to Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital for treatment.”

He added that Mr Sovannareth’s driver was later released because he was not involved in the shooting.

Judge Kesaror said that based on information from the driver on the accused’s possible whereabouts, police started searching for Mr Sovannareth along the Cambodian-Thai border in Oddar Meanchey and arrested him on January 4.

During the trial, Mr Sovannareth admitted committing the offence.

He told the court that the reason why he had fired shots was because he was drunk and became angry with the victim.

“The victim kept refusing to play the music I requested,” Mr Sovannareth said. “He also kept looking at me and laughed when I argued with him.”

“I became angry with him and fired about five bullets on the floor in order to scare him but I did not intend to injure or kill him,” he added.

Mr Sovannareth requested the court to give him a light sentence.

A verdict is due March 21.

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