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Police say businessman Sok Bun has fled to Singapore. Photo supplied

Calls for oknha to have titled stripped

The family of a former TV presenter viciously bashed by real estate tycoon Sok Bun has rejected offers of a payoff by the magnate and called for justice, as police yesterday confirmed the oknha had fled to Singapore.

Speaking yesterday, Uth Thy, the father of the victim, former Cambodia Television Network host Ek Socheata, better known as Ms Sasa, confirmed representatives for Bun had offered $40,000 compensation following the brutal July 2 beating at a Phnom Penh restaurant.

But, echoing statements posted on social media by his daughter, now in Bangkok receiving treatment for injuries to her right eye, Thy, also an oknha, said the family wanted justice, not money.

“Their violent action was cruel, so we can’t accept this,” said Thy, who owns construction company Uth Thy Enterprise.

“He beat my daughter nearly death; if we took the $40,000, later on he would do this again to other people … I demand authorities seek his arrest without any compromise.”

Thy, a high-ranking military officer with the Prime Minister’s bodyguard unit, dismissed reports they had requested $1 million from Bun, whose armed bodyguard was also involved in the assault.

Thy has filed complaints to police and military police, in addition to his daughter’s claim filed to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, accusing Bun of violence with aggravating circumstances under article 218 of the penal code.

Brigadier Sok Khemrin, deputy chief of the Ministry of Interior’s Penal Police Department, confirmed that Sok Bun had escaped to Singapore.

Khemrin said his department was “seeking [Bun’s] arrest” and was in contact with his lawyers in an effort to arrange his surrender.

However, Lieutenant General Chhay Sinarith, deputy general-director of the National Police said police had not requested assistance from Singapore or Interpol because they hadn’t received an arrest warrant from the court.

Ly Sokha, a clerk at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said an arrest warrant would be issued if Bun ignored a summons issued by deputy prosecutor Hing Bunthorn on July 8.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua said she would write to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting that he ask King Norodom Sihamoni to remove Bun’s oknha title.

The title is usually bestowed on wealthy individuals with close ties to the government, and those who make sizeable contributions to the public coffers.

Sochua – who will also write to the Minister of Justice urging him to prosecute and lobby Singapore’s ambassador to Cambodia – demanded action to end the culture of impunity for the rich and powerful.

“Violence against women has to be taken seriously and this one is particularly serious because of that title,” Sochua said.

“It gives him more power …the power that has allowed him to think that he can do whatever he wants and can get away with it.”



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