Police Kill Suspected Drug Dealer in Takeo Province Raid

A man suspected of dealing drugs was killed on Thursday by police officers who raided his Takeo province home and shot him in the head, according to the victim’s family and an official, though their accounts of the incident differ.

Horn Sarath said his 21-year-old nephew, Hoeun Soytry, attempted to flee when police stormed his house in Samraong district’s Boeng Tranh Khang Tbong commune at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday night, but ended up in handcuffs outside.

He said officers did not find any drugs, and attempted to beat a confession and other information out of Hoeun Soytry before shooting him, which rendered him unconscious and eventually killed him the following morning.

Provincial and district police could not be reached on Thursday. Deputy provincial prosecutor Phan Sopheak confirmed the shooting, but said it occurred accidentally when the victim resisted arrest.

“The suspect was resisting, then the gun was shot accidentally at the suspect,” Mr. Sopheak said, adding that the court was investigating the incident.

Mr. Sarath, the uncle, said police only provided assistance when the family was turned away at a clinic, dropping Hoeun Soytry at the provincial referral hospital still handcuffed. He said a doctor there told him they lacked the equipment required to treat the victim, so they took him to Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital, where he died at about 2:30 a.m.

“When they arrived at the hospital, the police never cared,” Mr. Sarath said, denying his nephew was a drug dealer.

“They said he is a drug distributor, but when they arrested him there was no drugs,” he said.

However, Mr. Sopheak said Hoeun Soytry had been identified as a drug trafficker long ago.

A nationwide crackdown on drug crime that began in January has so far netted more than 5,000 people. The U.N.’s high commissioner for human rights has said that many swept up in the campaign are being unjustly detained.

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