Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association

Battambang Police Arrest A Man for Smuggling Weapons, Sent to Preah Sihanouk For Further Action

Local online media on Wednesday posted a photo of police and military police with confiscated weapons following a raid.
Local online media on Wednesday posted a photo of police and military police with confiscated weapons following a raid.

Battambang Provincial police arrested a man for allegedly smuggling 40 weapons and detained a few others for questioning but were later released after learning that they were not involved in the crime.

Penh Rany, Tapon commune police chief, confirmed that the suspect, Eang Sochea, and a few others were arrested in Battambang province’s Sangke district on June 4.

He said the “target” was being hunted from Preah Sihanouk province and he had arrived in Battambang to buy a plot of land in the Sangke district, staying there for about three months.

“Yes, it was smuggling and possession of illegal weapons,” Rany said.

“[He] has confessed that he used to send ‘goods’ [weapons] by bus, and sometimes transported them by himself,” he said.

According to Rany, the suspect has been sent back to Preah Sihanouk provincial police, which is in charge of the case, while the others were allowed to return home.

A report obtained by CamboJA News showed that the police seized 11 AK-47 rifles, four M16 rifles, two M4 carbines, one Thunder X, one CKC, one pistol and 18 guns used for shooting animals.

Heng Ratana, director-general of Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC), confirmed that the police arrested Eang Sochea, who resigned from the center in 2005.

“Yes, I saw the report on the day [June 4],” he said. “He quit 20 years ago and is no longer involved [with CMAC].” Sochea used to work as a storeman after joining CMAC in January 2003.

Battambang provincial deputy police chief and spokesperson Em Kosal said Sochea is being questioned at the provincial police headquarters. He referred further questions to court prosecutor spokesperson Duong Saran but he could not be reached for comment.

In 2022, seven people were charged with weapons smuggling in Battambang province and seized some 50 grenades and 10,000 assault rifle bullets, VOD reported.

Rights-based NGO Licadho region supervisor In Kongchet applauded the police for preventing a crime and strengthening security and public order in relation to weapon smuggling.

He called on the police to thoroughly investigate to ascertain if other people were involved.

“There might [be others]. They have a leadership structure. We have asked the police to thoroughly investigate people who [might] have accomplices [and] punish [them].

“The crackdown will prevent future offenses, and smuggling of weapons which has disturbed internal security,” Kongchet said.

National Police spokesperson Chhay Kim Khoeun only briefly commented that the police are working on the case.

Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Sar Ratha could not be reached for comment.