Top cop given ultimatum in deadly shooting case
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday ordered a high-ranking police officer to hand over his son, a police officer wanted over a fatal shooting during an operation in Prey Veng province.
Mr Hun Sen did not mention names, but police said he was referring to Chem Sok, a well-known tycoon, and Chem Ratanak, Preah Sdech district’s deputy police chief.
Police said Mr Ratanak, accompanied by his colleague Chem Vin during an operation on Saturday night, shot five times at Morn Ravuth and his friend Van Khemarin who were driving in a car.
Mr Ravuth died in the incident and Mr Khemarin was injured. Mr Ratanak escaped, but his colleague was arrested.
A police report said Mr Ravuth bought a Toyota Prius with payment by instalments from Phan Sody who repossessed the car because he was still owed $3,000.
On March 23, Mr Sody rented the car to a Chinese national, but Mr Ravuth took it back and escaped to his home town in Prey Veng province.
Mr Sody filed a complaint with police, saying his car had been stolen. Police tracked it down through its GPS system.
A police report said Mr Ravuth and his friend refused to stop the car during a chase and intentionally hit a police car, adding that the situation led to the two officers firing their guns.
Prey Veng provincial police chief Brigadier General Prum Santhor noted in the report that Mr Ravuth and his friend refused to stop the car during the chase.
On Monday, Mr Hun Sen ordered Mr Ratanak’s father to hand over his son to the police to face the law, otherwise, the father would lose his post.
“I would like to express my sympathy to the victim’s family over an alleged car theft,” Mr Hun Sen told a graduation ceremony. “Even if someone is a thief, police must not shoot him.”
“Why has this been allowed to happen? We must not judge anyone by using a weapon. This is not good,” he added. “From what I know, the shooter is a son of a high-ranking police officer. So he must find his son and hand him over or else he will take the consequences.”
In a post on Facebook yesterday, Interior Minister Sar Kheng promised justice for the victim’s family.
“I am so sad to hear of the death,” he said. “On behalf of the Interior Ministry, I promise to find justice for the families of the victims and relevant people as well as the whole society.”
National Police chief General Neth Savoeun yesterday said police had arrested Mr Vin after the incident and were hunting Mr Ratanak.
“Police have questioned the victim’s friend who was in the car and was injured, and grilled two other police officers who were part of the operation,” he said. “Provincial police must investigate the case in detail.”
In a video Facebook post on Sunday, Mr Ravuth’s mother called on officials to find justice for her son, saying he was not a thief as had been alleged.