One of four suspects in an armed robbery escaped from a police car when the group was being transported to the Kompong Speu provincial police station on Sunday, officials said.
Deputy provincial police chief Som Sak said the suspects had been arrested for an armed robbery of a gasoline seller in Oral district on March 4.
According to district military police commander Som Puthdara, the mastermind of the robbery, Tek Somoul, 33, fled into a large forest after the car they were traveling in got a flat tire at about 8 a.m.
“The car got a flat tire, so we dropped them down and then he jumped across the creek and ran into the forest,” Mr. Sak said, adding that the forest spans about 100 hectares in the mountainous Samraong Tong district. The other three suspects, Yim Vuthy, 37; Key Yoeun, 35; and Chhay Thoeun, 45, remained in custody, he said.
The four had been at large since the robbery until three of them—including Mr. Somoul—were caught with two AK-47 assault rifles by police checking motorists for weapons in Tbong Khmum province on Wednesday night, Mr. Sak said.
The alleged thieves managed to flee the scene, but the weapons they left behind led investigating officers to link them with the robbery by comparing the bullets, and they were arrested at their homes the following day, he added.
“He was traveling on a motorbike-cart in Tbong Khmum province with two other people, and when police checked for weapons they jumped off and fled,” Mr. Sak said.
A fifth person identified as Sok Montha, 48, was arrested on Friday morning for selling the rifles to the suspects, he added. Mr. Sak said Mr. Montha is a weapons technical trainer at the military’s ACO Tank Command Headquarters in Kompong Speu province.
Mr. Puthdara said two more AK-47s were found when police searched Mr. Somoul’s house. The four other suspects were detained overnight at the provincial police station and were due to be sent to the provincial court today, he said.
soumy@cambodiadaily.com
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