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Two explanations for official’s son’s injuries

The son of Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town governor was badly beaten Sunday night during what military police claim was a brawl between two groups of youths, but what one police witness speaking on the condition of anonymity claimed was due to military police brutality.

Director of the provincial criminal research office, Kong Kan, said a fight broke out near the Provincial Military Police headquarters between two groups of youth, including 24-year-old Neb Samnang, the son of Bavet Governor Neb Sarun. Samnang jumped on his motorbike to escape the fracas, but quickly crashed and sustained a serious head injury.

“If we did not help the victims, they would have been beaten to death, and the victims’ families did not incriminate our forces. We helped their children, and the victims’ families thanked us,” Kan said.

Kan denied that military police had been responsible for any of Samnang’s injuries, and said they brought him inside the headquarters to bandage his head before sending him to the provincial hospital. But a Svay Rieng police officer present on the scene gave a markedly different account, saying that when officers pulled the young man from the gang fight, one began beating him.

They then took him into the headquarters, where the officer knocked him around further, before sending Samnang on to a private clinic well after midnight, the officer said.

Neither Samnang, nor his father, Sarun, could be reached for comment yesterday. Military police confirmed no complaints had been filed.

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