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Rui Feng company sugar plantation workers (in uniform) inspect crop progress in Preah Vihear province earlier this year. Heng Chivoan

Man claims beating at hands of Rui Feng staff

A trucker driver working for Chinese sugar firm Rui Feng in Preah Vihear province claims he was beaten by company staff and military police officials on Saturday after they accused him of placing a rock in his haul in a bid to damage company equipment.

The driver, Net Sida, 34, said he was contracted 20 days ago to transport harvested sugarcane from the Rui Feng plantation in Chheb district to a processing facility.

After delivering the sugarcane on Saturday, Sida said he was stopped by Chinese staffers and taken to a translator where they accused him of placing a rock among the crop in order to damage a sugarcane crushing machine.

After insisting the rock was not from his load, Sida says he turned his back on staffers, who then grabbed him by the collar and began to beat him. Two military policemen, moonlighting as Rui Feng security guards, then arrived at the scene and attempted to take him away on a motorcycle.

“Actually, my truck had no stone, so I argued and got off the motorbike,” he said. “They [military police] grabbed my collar and also beat me, handcuffed me and took me away.”

Sida said he was again beaten and hit on the head at a nearby military police post, identifying one of the officials as Ing Vinarith, who he said threatened to shoot him, then smashed Sida’s wife’s phone after she arrived and attempted to take pictures.

“I should not have been handcuffed as a criminal, because they had no proof,” he said.

Kang Saokun, Preah Vihear provincial military police commander, said he was unaware of the case but confirmed there was a military police official named Ing Vinarith in Chheb district and said he would investigate the incident.

Sida’s employer and contractor, Prom Many, backed the contract worker yesterday, saying the stone was probably placed by an employee of another contractor in order to frame her workers. “The company will then stop doing business with me,” she said. “They wanted to frighten me.”

Kuy Yoeun, Rui Feng’s administration manager, said he was unaware of the incident and that transporters were normally fined in such cases and the company did not resort to violence.

“If they see a stone, they just fine them. There is no punishment like arresting [people],” he said. “The information is exaggerated, and I do not believe it.”

As of yesterday, Sida said he had not yet filed a complaint against the company, saying he feared for his safety.

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