Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Saturday charged a Taiwanese national who allegedly tried to kill his Chinese friend over an unpaid debt by firing three shots that missed him.
The murder attempt took place at about 8pm on September 27 at the Green Café Restaurant in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district.
Colonel Bun Satya, municipal Minor Crimes Department chief, identified the accused as Lai Sung Mao, 53, from Chbar Ampov district’s Chbar Ampov I commune.
He identified the victim as Xiao Hong Je, 37, living at a rental house in Chamkar Mon district’s Tuol Tumpong II commune.
Col Satya noted that Mr Lai was charged with attempted murder, unauthorised possession of a weapon, drug use and possession. If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to 15 years.
He said Mr Lai was arrested by municipal penal police at his guesthouse room on Wednesday and is now in prison pending trial.
Captain Sok Sareth, a penal police officer, said that according to investigations, the accused and victim were friends.
He said that in May this year, Mr Xiao borrowed $15,000 from Mr Lai, but did not repay him after several months.
Cap Sareth noted that at about 8pm on September 27, the accused drove his Toyota Highlander SUV to dine at the Green Café Restaurant in Toek La’ak II commune.
He said after parking the SUV, Mr Lai entered the restaurant and saw Mr Xiao having a meal with a Cambodian man.
Cap Sareth noted that the accused ran back to his vehicle and retrieved a pistol from it before re-entering the restaurant.
“He was angry with the victim for owing him $15,000 and not repaying him,” he said. “He then took the pistol from his car and walked to the victim.”
“He fired three shots at Mr Xiao, who managed to dodge the bullets and run to hide in a room at the restaurant,” Cap Sareth added.
He noted that after the shooting, Mr Lai fled from the place in his SUV.
Cap Sareth said that after the accused left, the victim lodged a complaint with commune police. He noted that Mr Lai was identified from CCTV footage at the restaurant.
Cap Sareth said that at about 1pm on Wednesday, police traced and arrested the accused at his guesthouse room.
He said that after the arrest, police seized ten small packages of crystal meth, five ecstasy pills, a pistol, 30 bullets, two phones, the Toyota Highlander, and other drug paraphernalia.
Cap Sareth noted that Mr Lai tested positive for drug use.