A Cambodia National Rescue Party council member from Banteay Meanchey’s Thma Puok district has been arrested on suspicion of attacking a food vendor, officials said yesterday.
A Thma Puok police officer, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said 37-year-old Hoeung Lam, a CNRP district council committee member, was arrested after allegedly attacking a vendor selling food at a local pagoda.
According to the official, the attack happened at about 8:30am on Wednesday after 52-year-old vendor Kong Sarith ignored Lam’s requests to move away from the pagoda. An argument ensued that quickly turned violent.
“The victim was punched in the face on the left cheek,” he said. “We transferred it to the provincial authorities.”
Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem said Lam had been questioned extensively since his arrest on Wednesday evening.
“There are three or more witnesses, so it is an obvious case; there is no exaggeration,” he said.
But Ke Samphors, provincial CNRP vice president, said police had mishandled the case.
“It was just an argument and pushing back and forth; it did not reach the point of serious violence, but the authorities arrested Hoeun Lam and sent him to the provincial police station at night without inviting both parties to solve the problem,” he said.
“The district police chief detained him at 7pm, and at about 11pm he forwarded him to the provincial police station.
It was very fast. Some serious crimes have not been forwarded as quickly as this,” he added.
CNRP lawmaker Yun Tharo said Lam was transferred to the provincial court yesterday evening.
Court officials could not be reached.