Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Answers sought from Banh on promotion of MPs' attackers

Answers sought from Banh on promotion of MPs' attackers

Defence Minister Tea Banh speaks at an event in Chroy Changvar district last year.
Defence Minister Tea Banh speaks at an event in Chroy Changvar district last year. Hong Menea

Answers sought from Banh on promotion of MPs' attackers

A senior opposition lawmaker says he will request Minister of Defence Tea Banh explain at parliament why three members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit were promoted after serving prison time for seriously assaulting two opposition lawmakers.

Head of the National Assembly’s commission on investigations and anti-corruption Ho Vann said he would propose summoning the minister to appear before the parliament during the weekly internal meeting of Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers scheduled today at 2:30pm.

“The public has seen that those people were culprits, so why and how were they promoted in rank?” Vann said yesterday by telephone.

“They were sentenced for beating lawmakers … yet they get promotions – the public has its doubts about it.”

Sot Vanny, Mao Hoeun and Chay Sarith, all members of the premier’s elite guard, were among 16 men who viciously beat CNRP lawmakers Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Saphea outside the assembly on October 26, 2015, and, despite video evidence showing at least 16 men involved, the only attackers arrested.

During their trial, they denied they were acting under orders and claimed they were provoked by the victims. Far from supporting this, footage of the attack showed the suspects, who emerged from a pro-government rally, were well-coordinated.

The men had all but 12 months of a four-year sentence suspended, and were promoted weeks after their release in November, with Vanny and Hoeun becoming full colonels and Sarith awarded a general’s star.

Representatives of the Defence Ministry and military could not be reached yesterday for comment.

They have previously said that the trio had served their time and had been assessed as deserving advancement by an internal committee for their performance.

CNRP lawmaker Cheam Channy, who handles defence issues for the party, said the decision to promote the men was unacceptable and backed the call to summon Tea Banh.

“They beat them almost to death, were promoted and had their jail term suspended,” Channy said.

“[Banh] needs to clarify about this.”

Saphea, whose nose was broken and eardrum ruptured in the attack, yesterday backed Vann’s proposal, saying he wanted to hear answers.

“I believe that all CNRP lawmakers will support this move to summon the minister of defence to clarify at the National Assembly,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be