A representative from Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) said on Wednesday that his company will not file further complaints or demand compensation from the four people arrested by police after being found stealing scrap metal left behind after the construction of the new iron bridge across the Tonle Sap river.
The arrested men were identified as Mos Mot, 30; Mat Kriya, 56; Ty Smankos, 17; and Teat Atu, 17, all of whom are fishermen living in Chroy Chongvar district.
At around 10:30pm on Tuesday night, the four, along with roughly 16 others, came on boats to gather the scrap metal.
Worried they were cutting metal from the new bridge, nearby residents called police, who arrested the four and took them to the Chroy Chongvar police station for questioning. Their accomplices managed to escape.
Siem Sothavuth, Chroy Chongvar district police chief, said that during questioning the four men told police they only wanted scrap metal and did not mean to cause any damage to the bridge.
“They wanted to take the metal left behind after the construction as they thought the company did not want it,” Sothavuth said.
Following the incident, a group of experts from Phnom Penh’s Department of Public Works and Transportation on Wednesday inspected the bridge with engineers from OCIC, the company that built it.
Phnom Penh City Hall spokesperson Met Meas Pheakdey confirmed the structure is sound and no damage was found to it. “No part of the bridge is lost or damaged. The public can safely travel on the bridge as usual,” he said.
Police Chief Sothavuth said that if there was no complaint from the company then he would let the suspects go.
Touch Samnang, OCIC’s representative, said that the company would not file any complaint. “What they did was wrong. But we believe they had no intention to cause any damage to the bridge.
“But we want the police to instruct them to stop doing that before allowing them to go home,” Samnang said.