Poipet city military police are on a manhunt for more suspects, following the arrests of 14 people in connection with a shootout, between one group of Cambodians and another comprising Thai nationals, which resulted in four people, including three military police officers being wounded.
The dramatic event in Banteay Meanchey province took place at a pub in front of Paradise Casino in Poipet commune’s Kbal Spean 1 village at 11.23 pm on Saturday.
CCTV footage obtained by military police and seen by Khmer Times yesterday shows a group of nine people, said by local media to be Thai nationals and included two women, sitting in the pub drinking and dancing until they became drunk.
One of them, a man wearing a T-shirt, went to the washroom and came across the other group with whom he had previously had an altercation.
The group began chasing him and he ran back to the table where his friends were. Both sides then began throwing wine bottles and chairs at each other before one of the Thais whipped out a pistol and fired shots.
The other group also whipped out guns and returned fire causing other pub patrons to flee, fearing for their lives.
Upon hearing the gunshots, military police officers armed with rifles came to intervene and were fired upon, causing three officers to be wounded.
The military police officers then fired warning shots in the air before overcoming and arresting the 14 suspects. However several others from both groups managed to escape.
Poipet City military police commander Major Noun Nynaro, told Khmer Times yesterday that one of the men in the Cambodian group was injured in the foot when the Thai group opened fire.
He said two of the military officers who were shot at were mildly hurt while the third was severely injured after being hit in the face.
The officer was transferred from the Mongkul Borey Referral Hospital to Phnom Penh for treatment.
Of those arrested, Major Nynaro said all 14 belonged to the Khmer group while all the Thais escaped.
“10 suspects have been questioned and were sent to the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court for further action,” he said. “Another is still being questioned by us.”
Maj Nynaro said the three other suspects were released after it was found they were not involved in the fight.
A police source from Poipet city who asked not to be named told Khmer Times yesterday that both groups spoke in Thai and people are wondering why Thai nationals have guns in Cambodia. He also said that it is rumoured that one of those who had a gun in the Khmer group was a military police officer.
National Military Police spokesman Brigadier General Eng Hy told Khmer Times yesterday that the officers who intervened in the gunfight were forced to shoot in the air to prevent an ugly situation from getting worse.
“I cannot give any for details about this case because military police officers are searching to arrest more people involved in the shootout but fled the scene,” he said.
Banteay Meanchey deputy provincial governor Ngor Mengchruon yesterday told Khmer Times that he had instructed the relevant authorities to strengthen security and public order in Poipet city.
“We are now stepping up security after the shootings. We have allowed police officers and the armed forces to patrol at all times and I hope that such cases will not happen again in Piopet city,” he said