A border officer in Cambodia who made headlines last year for pretending to be hit by a car driven by an opposition activist is now being sought by police for shooting a colleague over the weekend, a spokesperson for the country’s Ministry of Interior said Monday.
Chhean Pisith, a deputy chief of the border checkpoint with Thailand in Poipet, in western Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey province, shot the checkpoint’s administration bureau chief Sem Makara in the shoulder after a dispute, Ministry of Interior spokesperson Khieu Sopheak told reporters.
“The suspect left the scene with gun,” he said, adding that Sem Makara had not been seriously wounded.
“We know that he is outside the country now and we will cooperate with our neighbors in order to bring him back.”
Khieu Sopheak said that Interior Minister Sar Kheng had fired Chhean Pisith and that the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court issued a warrant Monday to question him about the shooting incident, which occurred on the morning of April 9.
According to a statement by Sem Makara, Chhean Pisith became involved in a verbal dispute between two fellow border officers on April 7, which carried on throughout the weekend and nearly led to a physical altercation.
When Sem Makara convened a morning meeting to resolve the dispute on April 9, Chhean Pisith drew his service weapon and cocked it, threatening him.
Sem Makara left the room and sought assistance from the chief of border police, and when he returned, Chhean Pisith shot him, grazing his left shoulder, but leaving him otherwise unharmed.
Other officers disarmed Chhean Pisith, who then fled and is believed to have crossed the border into Thailand.
A report by the Cambodia Daily cited Sem Makara as saying that he never had any issues with Chhean Pisith prior to the shooting incident.
The report also cited Sim Sam Ath, chief of the Poipet border checkpoint, confirming the incident but refusing to give details, saying he had already sent a report to the immigration department.
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Reported by Maly Leng for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Sarada Taing. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.
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