A Preah Sihanouk man who tried to report a stolen loudspeaker to local police ended up beaten at the hands of officers due to “confusion,” then signed an agreement in which police promised not to beat him again if he did not sue.
Tim Chamrong, 37, called the Bit Traing commune police station in Prey Nob district on Sunday evening to report the stolen item, which Chamrong suspected had been robbed from his house during the day, according to his brother, Tim Chamroeun, 39.
But the brother believes that when Chamrong told an officer he wanted to “file a complaint,” police took that to mean a complaint against the force.
Police asked Chamrong to come to the station, and when he arrived, officers beat him up, Chamroeun said.
“When I got there he was kneeled down and getting beaten up, and the commune police chief kneed him in the mouth while his subordinates also kicked him, like they were torturing him, like he had committed a serious crime,” Chamroeun said.
The brother asked officers why they had beaten Chamrong, and they replied it was “because he was rude,” he said.
Commune police chief Tan Piseth acknowledged that he and his officers had beaten Chamrong, but said the two parties had since reached an understanding.
“Just a little confusion,” Piseth said, though he would not explain what the confusion was.
Chamroeun said the family had signed the agreement. “We have a small business and we are concerned that it could hurt our business, and we are concerned about it because we live in this society,” Chamroeun said.
But he still took issue with the characterization of the incident as a “confusion,” considering that it was not a matter of mistaken identity — the officers wanted to beat his brother.
“This is not confusion, because they intended to beat him,” he said. “If they beat the wrong person, it might be confusion.”
The agreement was signed between Chamrong and his family members including Chamroeun, two other brothers Tim Phorn, 47, and Tim Pheak, 49, and brother-in-law Khuon Sam Ol, 39; as well as police officials including the chief Piseth and officers Nub Vang, 27, Em Sambor, 37, Chhin Voeun, 29, and Vuth Tip, 27.
“We are the parties who have agreed to end the case of misunderstanding that led to violence,” the agreement says.
The victim’s party asks for an apology and for the police force to be educated, and in return “will not file a lawsuit.” The aggressors “are committed to not repeat the case for a second time against Tim Chamrong.”
“No revenge or threats,” it says. “No mockery or insults, or any gesture that harms the dignity and rights of each other. … If any party violates any of the points, they must bear responsibility in the face of the law.”
Prey Nob district police chief Huor Yai declined to comment.