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Victims reject police offer of cash

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Suon Chanthy, 21, recovers yesterday at Preah Kossamak hospital in Phnom Penh after allegedly being shot in the leg by a district military police official in Kampong Speu province last week.

Two victims of an alleged assault-and-extortion incident by a district military police commander and three subordinates in Kampong Speu province on Saturday say they have rejected a compensation offer from the officers’ families.

Rath Thavy, Kampong Speu provincial coordinator for the local rights group Adhoc, said that the four military policemen, who were arrested last week for allegedly attacking and shooting two charcoal sellers in
Kampong Speu when they refused to pay 15,000 riel (US$3.68) at a checkpoint, wanted to pay the compensation before charges were laid in the case.

Suon Chanthy, 21, who was shot in the left leg as he attempted to flee, was reportedly offered $4,000, while 19-year-old Men Bora, who was beaten and sustained a head injury, was offered $300.

“They wanted to pay money to the victims and asked them to withdraw their complaints against them, but they were refused by the victims and their families because the compensation is not [proportionate] with their injuries,” Rath Thavy said.

Seng Vansak, acting commander of the Samrong Tong district military police, allegedly shot Suon Chanthy with an AK-47 and is being held along with deputy commander Sen Srun and two subordinates.

48-year-old Mom Sarom, Suon Chanthy’s mother, said she refused the offer because she was asking for $5,000 in compensation from the officers to withdraw her complaint, citing her son’s high medical costs.

“I demand $5,000 compensation from them because I think that this amount is appropriate to pay for my son’s leg treatment. If they do not agree, I will not withdraw” the complaint, she said.  

Suon Chanthy said at Preah Kossamak hospital in Phnom Penh yesterday that he would not be able to afford his medical treatment without an increased offer from the police.

“My left leg is broken, and it will take a lot of money and time for treatment. I cannot accept this compensation because it does not fit my injuries.  I would like to ask the court to strongly punish and jail them so that they will not do this to other people in the future,” he said.

Khuth Sopheang, prosecutor at the Kampong Speu provincial court, said yesterday that the four military policemen had yet to be charged.

“I am now waiting to see these four people charged, but they have not been sent to the court yet,” he said.

“Although they agreed to pay compensation to the victims … they still face a prosecutor’s complaint because this is a criminal case.”

Men Sybourn, chief of the provincial military police, and Nhorn Thol, deputy chief of the military police criminal office in Kampong Speu, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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