Police and local authorities are hunting for who they believe was a would-be robber who blew up a Canadia Bank ATM in front of the National Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh on Saturday, but escaped empty-handed.
The blast happened shortly after midnight and completely destroyed the outside of the machine on Russian Boulevard, said Toek La’ak I commune police chief Ma Eang Nguon.
Motorists drive by a blown-up Canadia Bank ATM on Russian Boulevard in Phnom Penh on Sunday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)“We don’t know either,” said Pal Sothy, deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s penal police department, of the suspect’s identity or motivations. “Unless we arrest the suspect, then we could figure it out.”
Mr. Sothy added that the police investigation so far suggested the suspect was after cash.
“The suspect did this thinking that after the explosion, they could pick up the money,” he said.
A report posted to the National Police website on Sunday describes security footage showing a man approaching the ATM and attaching explosives to the money slot, along with a fuse that he then lit.
Ten minutes later, the ATM exploded, the report said. Photographs of the scene show shattered glass in a cascade across the sidewalk in front of the remains of the cash dispenser.
The safe box in which the cash was stored was not damaged, however, the report said, so the suspect did not get away with any money.
The report added that the man had left purple stickers and some pieces of paper at the scene, but did not give any more details.
Canadia Bank officials did not respond to a request for comment.
A security guard approached by reporters on Sunday said that he hadn’t been there when the explosion occurred, and that the guard who had been on duty at the time was sleeping when the ATM blew up.
An operator of Canadia’s customer service line who identified himself as Sopheakdey said staff had been told about the explosion on Sunday morning.
“The bosses called a meeting. It’s under investigation. Today is a holiday. This morning we don’t know, but tomorrow we’ll know,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Aisha Down)
kimsay@cambodiadaily.com
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