Chhean Pisith, a Poipet border official widely mocked for flopping in front of a barely moving car driven by an opposition activist in December and claiming serious injury, shot a colleague at the border office on Sunday and is now on the run, according to officials and an Interior Ministry statement.
Mr. Pisith, the deputy chief of the Poipet International Border Checkpoint, got involved in an ongoing fight between two border officers, which began on Friday when Nov Lyda took six passports to be stamped by Keo Reaksa, who called him a “slave,” according to a statement prepared by the checkpoint for the ministry’s immigration department and sent to reporters by the shooting victim, Sem Makara, head of the checkpoint’s administration bureau.
Chhean Pisith lies on the road after flopping to the ground in front of an SUV being driven by CNRP official Mang Puthy in Poipet City last year.The name-calling carried on on Sunday morning and the two officers were on the brink of a physical altercation, the statement said.
“Then Major Chhean Pisith yelled at First Lieutenant Nov Lyda, ‘Why are you shouting in here?’” it said.
Mr. Makara called a meeting about the fight, to which Mr. Pisith arrived with Mr. Reaksa and a gun, the statement said.
“Major Sem Makara opened the door and Maj. Chhean Pisith took out his gun and cocked it,” it says.
Mr. Makara left the room seeking the chief of border police for intervention, it says, and when he walked back in the room at about 8:45 a.m. Mr. Pisith shot him in the left shoulder, grazing his skin and causing his epaulet to fall to the floor, before others in the room took the gun from Mr. Pisith.
Mr. Makara said last night that he had never had any issues with Mr. Pisith before.
He said he was currently in Phnom Penh after being summoned by the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, and added that he believed Mr. Pisith fled the country for Thailand.
He said the immigration department would summon Mr. Pisith and Mr. Reaksa for questioning today.
Provincial police chief Ath Khem last night said he had just learned about the case and declined to elaborate. Sim Sam Ath, chief of the Poipet border checkpoint, confirmed the incident but would not give details, saying he had already sent a report to the immigration department.
Mr. Pisith caused a social media frenzy in December when a video circulated online showed him collapsing in front of a barely moving car being driven by labor activist Mang Puthy.
Mr. Puthy was charged with aggravated intentional violence over the incident, while Mr. Pisith was supposedly rushed to the hospital in Thailand wearing a neck brace.
Security footage from a Thai hotel, however, showed Mr. Pisith happily strolling the hotel’s halls and descending its stairs.
soumy@cambodiadaily.com
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