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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Top city police official accused in assault

Top city police official accused in assault

Top city police official accused in assault

Phat Dara says he was pistol-whipped by police officials racing their cars.

A COMPLAINT was filed with the Ministry of Interior on Wednesday accusing a senior police official and two accomplices of beating a 25-year-old mechanic and leaving him for dead, the victim’s employer said.

The document, which has been seen by the Post, accuses Neang Sok Na – deputy police chief of the Phnom Penh Minor Crimes Bureau – and two others of threatening Phat Dara’s life and pistol-whipping his face and hands on Sunday in an incident witnessed by nearly 50 people who thumb-printed the formal complaint. The allegations have been denied by the police.

Om Heng, the owner of the Heng Heng garage on Phnom Penh’s Street 39 and a witness to the incident, said that staff members, including Phat Dara, were eating dinner in front of the establishment when two cars raced past at high speed.

“One of my staff shouted to the children nearby not to cross the road while we were eating because they might be in danger when the two cars stopped near the pagoda about 30 metres away,” he said.

“One man we knew as senior police officer Neang Sok Na was extremely drunk. He got out of his car and with a pistol – hit my staff member on the head. The other three men started hitting him as well.”

They continued to beat the victim before calling for more police officers to take Phat Dara to the police station, Om Heng said. The victim “has worked here for eight years without a dispute, and now I must seek justice for him,” Om Heng said.

Mea Phanit, another eyewitness, said that the court must prosecute Neang Sok La and not merely compensate the victim. “If he is released from prison, it will set a bad example for other police officers,” he said.

Song Ly, police chief of the Minor Crimes Bureau, dismissed the allegations on Wednesday, saying it was Phat Dara who had been drinking and assaulted Neang Sok La.

“It is the people’s right to complain; however, we also have a document to countersue because the people don’t know the truth,” he said. “If he didn’t use the gun he would be killed by the people there.”

Phat Dara is being treated for his injuries at Calmette Hospital. He is asking for 20 million riels (US$4,800) in compensation, his employer said.