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Monks embroiled in Khmer New Year brawl

Monks embroiled in Khmer New Year brawl

A fight between three rival groups of gangsters in Banteay Meanchey province had left a father and son hospitalised and several monks with lesser injuries after their chief monk attempted to intervene, police said yesterday.

The fight began during a Khmer New Year dance in a pagoda, with 60 to 90 gangsters using sticks and stones to hit one another, Yort Sophan, police chief of Mongkol Borei district, said. When the chief monk told the gangsters to stop fighting, they turned their sticks on him, Sophan said. Pen Savuth, the chief monk, said he had suffered injuries on his ribs, shoulders and ears.

“My Buddhist followers shielded my body,” he said, denying accusations that monks had joined the fight. Two bystand-ers were also taken to the hospital with injuries, Srah Raing commune police chief Muon Eay said.

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