Cambodian Soldier Caught Fishing Illegally Shoots Forestry Official

cambodia-mu-sochua-park-april-2014.jpg A municipal police officer confronts Mu Sochua in Phnom Penh's Freedom Park, April 3, 2014.
Photo courtesy of the CNRP

Two soldiers in northwest Cambodia’s Battambang province fired assault rifles at two local forestry officials on Friday after the officials reported them to a local opposition party lawmaker for illegal fishing.

Fishing official SounThong told RFA’s Khmer Service that he and his colleague Hun Sary fled Prey Chas commune and went into hiding after a soldier named Chhai Leang from Ek Phnom district shot at them.

Soun Thong said Chhai Leang fired an AK-47 assault rifle, spraying them with bullets after he and the other official had reported the soldiers for illegal fishing to Mu Sochua, a prominent rights activist and member of parliament for Battambang, who was visiting the province.

“They shot at me three times. They wanted to kill me,” Soun Thong said of the attack in which he suffered a hand injury.

Prey Chas commune police said the shooting occurred because Chhai Leang was drunk and had argument with the forestry officials.

RFA could not reach Mu Sochua, who had been visiting the area to speak with constituents, for comments. The shooting occurred after Mu Sochua had left the area.

She had talked with Prey Chas residents about illegal fishing in protected areas, according to information on her Facebook page. Villagers said they were concerned about local police accepting bribes to turn a blind eye to those who fished illegally.

Reported by Hum Chamroeun of RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.


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