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Assault claims against police

ABOUT 50 villagers in Ratanakkiri province’s Andong Meas district yesterday filed a complaint to district officials and rights workers, accusing a border police chief and his nephew of sexual assault.

Sal Yam, 28, a representative of the Jarai minority community in Ta Nga village, in Nhang commune, said that during a village celebration on January 2, a man named Phay, a nephew of border police chief Phay Sambath, sexually assaulted female villagers aged as young as 15 and attacked men who tried to intervene.

“Phay touched the vaginas of girls in the village and punched other men. We warned him but he said that he was not afraid of anyone and took his uncle’s gun and pointed it at everyone at the party,” Sal Yam said.

Phay allegedly went to his uncle’s office to acquire more guns but villagers preveted him.

Phay Sambath appeared at the party and reportedly threatened villagers who had taken the gun from his nephew and used an electric baton to hit two villagers named Sal Ven and Rocham Sin, causing minor injuries.

Chhay Thy, a provincial investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said yesterday said villagers in the area “frequently suffered abuse” at the hands of powerful officials and requested that judges take legal action against the accused.  

Norng Dararidth, Andong Meas district governor, said that he hadn’t yet received the complaint, but that the case would be forwarded on to the provincial level.

“In fact, the offenders are ordinary people, not the police,” he said.

Phay Sambath could not be reached for comment.

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