A military officer working for the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit was shot and arrested by Meanchey district police on Tuesday after attempting to evade arrest, a military police official said.
Major Sok Phally, a military officer working with Phnom Penh’s military police, identified the bodyguard as Captain El Simsopheak, who lives in Dangkor district.
Maj Phally noted that the incident occurred on Tuesday at about 2:30pm after Cap Simsopheak, who was armed and in civilian clothing, began drinking at a restaurant in Prey Sar commune with two friends.
He said that Cap Simsopheak and his friends began an argument with a group of five youths who were also drinking.
During the argument, Cap Simsopheak pulled out his pistol and threatened to shoot the group he was arguing with.
Feeling distressed, one of the youths alerted district police officers nearby about the threats. Two district police officers soon arrived at the restaurant to confront Cap Simsopheak.
“Upon arriving, Cap Simsopheak and his friends fled the scene,” Maj Phally said. “They drove their motorbikes to flee from the district officers.”
“A chase ensued and the district officers called for back-up in order to have Cap Simsopheak and his two friends arrested,” he added.
After a 20-minute chase, police managed to intercept Cap Simsopheak and his friends in Stung Meanchey III commune.
Maj Phally said when attempting to stop Cap Simsopheak, the bodyguard fired five bullets into the air in order to avoid being arrested.
Cap Simsopheak then fled alone on his motorbike, prompting police to chase him again.
One of the district officers then fired his gun in order to stop Cap Simsopheak from escaping. The bullet found its mark and penetrated Cap Simsopheak’s right thigh.The rest of the officers then moved in to make the arrest.
Police confiscated Cap Simsopheak’s pistol, along with 12 bullets, as his friends escaped.
Maj Phally said Cap Simsopheak was then sent to hospital for treatment.
Colonel Bun Sothea, a military officer working with the Defence Ministry and a friend of Cap Simsopheak’s family, yesterday said Cap Simsopheak is still recovering at the Calmette Hospital.
“Cap Simsopheak denied that he threatened to shoot those five people,” Col Sothea said. “Cap Simsopheak also denied firing five bullets into the air to threaten police.”
“Cap Simsopheak said he told police that he was military, but the officers didn’t listen and fired several bullets at him,” Col Sothea added.
He said that Cap Simsopheak’s father, a Defence Ministry official, yesterday wrote two letters to National Police Chief General Neth Savoeun and Interior Minister Sar Kheng in order to find “truth and justice”.
“The father of Cap Simsopheak suggested that Samdech Sar Kheng and Gen Neth Savoeun have those who shot his son arrested in order to be punished by the law,” Col Sothea said.
Colonel Chim Sitha, chief of Meanchey district police, and Colonel Teng Sino, chief of Dangkor district police, could not be reached for comment yesterday.