A day after three of four men allegedly beaten by Hun Sen aide Bun Sokha and his bodyguards withdrew their complaints, the wife of the most seriously injured of the group said he has joined his fellow victims in accepting compensation.
Tim Sokheng, wife of Phat Sokha, the fourth victim in the attack that took place last week in Koh Kong, said her family decided to accept $5,000 to treat her seriously injured husband and leave the case in the hands of the court.
But neither she nor her husband were certain if their complaint had been withdrawn, as they had not dealt directly with the court themselves.
Tim Sokheng said the money from Bun Sokha, deputy chief of staff of Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit, and the other three suspects, had been paid to her family through the management at Koh Kong City hotel, the guesthouse where she and her husband work and the incident occurred.
“I received $5,000 in compensation this morning. My boss has compromised for us with the suspects,” she said. “Although I compromise to get the money, I still regret what they did to my husband. He [Bun Sokha] was a senior official, but what he did was inhumane, and I want him jailed.”
She said it would now “depend on the court” to find justice for the victims.
Sang Thairath, 32, Norng Suden, 42, Eang Kosal, 30, and Phat Sokha, 42, were victims of a violent beating on April 22 that was captured on the hotel’s CCTV cameras and subsequently posted on YouTube.
On Monday, victims Sang Thairath and Norng Suden took $3,000 and Eang Kosa, a military police officer, claimed $5,000 as compensation for their injuries.
Reached yesterday, Phat Sokha said he was sent to Thailand for medical treatment after the incident due to the severity of his injuries.
“I knew nothing about compensation. It’s my boss’s work to help me and my wife because I was staying in a hospital in Thailand and just returned back,” he said. “I got beaten on the waist seriously. I could not walk well and my boss let me take leave.”
Lay Menglaing, chief of the minor crime police office in Koh Kong, said yesterday that he was unaware of Phat Sokha’s compensation as he had been travelling. However, if it were true, he felt it wasn’t enough.
“Five thousand dollars? I don’t know that he received. He should receive more than that because he was the serious victim of the beating and was sent to Thailand. The others only suffered minor injuries,” he said.
He said that although the four men had taken compensation for their injuries, the court has to continue with its prosecution of the alleged assailants.
“The court must take legal action because they have seen all of the video footage of the beating. It’s actual evidence,” he said.
Bun Sokha, along with his bodyguards Sum Veasna and Meang Chheangly and driver Sum Chhaiya, face jail terms of three to five years if convincted on charges of “intentional violence”.
Provincial judge Kham Sophary and the acting prosecutor, Top Chhun Heng, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at firstname.lastname@example.org