Real estate tycoon Sok Bun, on the run since video of him viciously beating a local TV personality surfaced on the Internet on July 8, was arrested this morning at Phnom Penh International Airport and sent to Prey Sar prison after being questioned at court, police and court officials said.
Brigadier General Sok Khemarin, chief of the Ministry of Interior’s penal police department, said the okhna, formerly head of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association, was arrested on arrival at about 8am this morning before being sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
“He was arrested based on the municipal court’s warrant for his arrest by Ministry of Interior penal police this morning,” Khemarin told reporters. “He was arrested after he returned from traveling abroad.”
Investigating judge Leang Samnath, who questioned Bun at the courthouse following his arrest, told the Post that the tycoon has now been sent to Prey Sar prison to await trial.
Yin Sophy, Bun’s defence attorney, said Bun had returned because he wanted to resolve the case through the judicial system.
“My client has a real willingness to deal and take responsibility about this case. So he has come to solve these allegations with court directly, ” Sophy said.
Bun has been on the run, initially to Singapore, since security camera footage of a July 2 incident at Phnom Penh’s Higashiyama restaurant began circulating on the internet.
The video showed him savagely beating former TV presenter Ek Socheata, better known locally as Ms. Sasa, after she intervened and thwarted what she said were his attempts to take advantage of a drunken female friend.
An official arrest warrant for Bun and the bodyguard who held a pistol on Socheata during the beating was issued on Thursday. Since the incident, Bun has twice offered compensation to Socheat - first $40,000, then $100,000 - and been rejected on both occasions.
On Friday, it emerged that the friend whom Bun attempted to take advantage of in the video, a Japanese national who has since fled the country, has filed a separate police complaint accusing Bun of rape in an earlier incident.
According to court documents, Bun stands charged with “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances” under article 217 of the penal code. If found guilty, he faces a prison term of two to five years.
Bun’s bodyguard, who Socheata claims pulled the trigger of his pistol only for it to fail to discharge, has been charged with attempted murder and remains at large.