Kampong Speu Resident Alleges Police Violence, Officer Questions Man’s Disability

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A traffic police officer in Phnom Penh on September 15, 2020. (VOD)
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The mother of a man with a hearing impairment allegedly beaten in police custody last month will meet with Kampong Speu provincial police to further her complaint.

The incident occurred the night of September 13 when Kruy Thiya, 40, threw rocks at a nearby house in Kampong Speu’s Treng Trayoeng commune because they were watching cockfighting online and making noise, said Yu Sintha, his mother.

Three police officers came to their house and took Thiya away around 10 p.m. that night and when he came back around midnight, he had allegedly injured his mouth, eyes and head, Sintha said.

She claimed that the police had punched Thiya in the face and handcuffed him in a way that caused him to lose balance multiple times and fall on the ground.

“After he returned, he was very angry and aggressive and used his legs and hands to show [me]. … Naturally when he suffered the torture, he tried to show it. This is true and what is the point of setting it up?” she said.

According to a complaint filed by Sintha on September 15, Thiya looked at pictures of police officers in the commune and identified commune police chief Sem Vuthy and three other officers as the ones who allegedly beat him.

Vuthy denied the allegations and even cast doubts over Thiya’s disability. He said after Thiya went to police station, he was not cooperating so police had to handcuff him.

About the cut on his lip, Vuthy said Thiya was thrashing around in the car and a police officer had restrained Thiya’s arms behind his back, and when they alighted from the car Thiya fell and hurt his lip.

Vuthy alleged that Thiya was not deaf, could hear around 40% and write to communicate, and often got drunk and threw stones at the neighbor’s home.

“How can we interrogate a deaf person?” he said. “He can speak and can write.”

“If it is a case of robbery or murder, it is suitable to torture for interrogation to find accomplices but this was just a case of throwing stones.”

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