One more military police officer joined his two fellow officers yesterday in claiming that he had been beaten by Phnom Penh Municipal Police chief Choun Sovann on Sunday as the group’s spokesperson announced plans to file a lawsuit against Sovann next week.
Captain Vong Bunna, 53, assistant to the chief of staff of the Phnom Penh Municipal Military Police and the trio’s representative, maintained that
he and Captain Soem Long-heng, along with new plaintiff Un Bunthon, were badly beaten by Sovann, and that he had already prepared a penal lawsuit that he planned to file next week after funeral arrangements for the late King Father were finished.
“He got angry with me for allowing people to enter to pay their respects to the late King Father’s body at the Veal Preah Meru [cremation] site,” Bunna said in an interview. “He elbowed me twice in my chest, and punched me hard in my right ribs, and I almost lost consciousness.
“His violent action has affected the value of his leadership, as well as the institution of the national police and the country’s reputation.”
Bunna says that he has experienced chest pain since the alleged attack but has continued his work at the cremation site and is taking medication to treat the injuries.
“Now, I am ashamed, because I am also a military police officer, but I was beaten without making a mistake in front of a crowd of people,” he continued. “To find justice and get back my honour, I will sue him in court after the end of the King Father’s funeral ceremony.”
Longheng, 47, deputy chief of the municipal military police’s messenger office, said in an interview that he was attacked simply for helping some senior citizens.
“He got angry with me because I let about 10 old people in the crowd who were having trouble breathing to enter and stay behind the barriers to catch their breath,” he said, adding that Sovann struck him on the left shoulder with a handheld radio before other police and military police officers intervened.
Sergeant Major Un Bunthon could not be reached for comment, but according to Bunna, was struck in the back of the neck with the radio.
Sovann also could not be reached yesterday but adamantly denied the charges on Sunday.
Kheng Tito, spokesman for National Military Police, said the case “has affected the reputation of our national police force as a whole”, and would be settled in due course.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at firstname.lastname@example.org