Kampong Chhnang Residents Accuse Police Chief’s Family of Violence

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Kampong Chhnang provincial police officers line up to salute the flag at their headquarters. (Facebook: Kampong Chhnang Provincial Police)
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Four Kampong Chhnang residents are alleging that a commune police chief’s family beat them over a mundane dispute, after which provincial police intimidated them to withdraw a complaint they had filed over the incident.

The peculiar case played out from February 1 to 3 last week, before the foursome took their concerns to Interior Minister Sar Kheng’s Facebook page on February 7. They allege that they were beaten by a group of five people and then sent for questioning to Kampong Chhnang provincial police, where authorities threatened them until they took back their original complaint.

The four plaintiffs are Roeun Vy, a construction worker; Heang Bunny, a homemaker; Heang Bunra, a worker; and Im Ieang Y, another worker. The five suspects are only listed as “Vet, Ty, Ti, Chek and Pov,” and are allegedly related to Tbeng Khpos commune police chief Sar Sophal,

According to the account provided to the Interior Minister, a fight broke out on February 1 after the victims allegedly shooed away cows that belonged to the suspects and had strayed onto their plantation. The livestock owners then proceeded to beat one person in the scuffle — not the four victims listed in the complaint — before threatening to return in the evening for another beating.

The four victims then went to the commune police chief, but he sent them to the village chief instead to file a complaint. It’s not clear what transpired next, but the livestock owners allegedly returned later that night and beat up the four.

The four then returned to the commune police chief, Sar Sophal, who asked them to come back the next morning. At that point, he asked them to accept $500 in compensation, but they refused. Sophal then detained them and sent them to provincial police, who held them overnight and asked them to withdraw their complaint. They did so the following morning on February 3.

“Do you want to continue or do you want to end this now?” asked a deputy provincial police chief in charge of criminal affairs, according to the four people’s complaint.

The four then drafted an account of what had happened on February 7 and posted it to Sar Kheng’s Facebook page.

Neither Interior Ministry spokesperson Khieu Sopheak nor the commune police chief Sophal could be reached for comment Thursday. 

Provincial deputy police chief Ear Bunthoeun said they were working on the case but warned a journalist about publishing the story. 

“Do not publish in a messy way. Wait for a moment. I [am getting] instructions from the prosecutor and the provincial police chief,” he said. “We have summoned the commune police chief to come to the provincial police office.”

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