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Four arrest warrants issued in mob beating of professor, including two Daun Penh security guards

A crowd surrounds the damaged vehicle of a Phnom Penh college professor after he was set upon by a mob following a March 11 traffic accident. Fresh News
A crowd surrounds the damaged vehicle of a Phnom Penh college professor after he was set upon by a mob following a March 11 traffic accident. Fresh News

Four arrest warrants issued in mob beating of professor, including two Daun Penh security guards

Two Daun Penh district security guards are among four named in arrest warrants as suspected instigators of the brutal mob beating of a university professor last month.

The March 22 warrants, published by the National Police on Thursday, call for the arrests of Daun Penh guards Sam Sotheara, 22, and Pheach Kimhak, 20, as well as Seth Mesa, 23, and Sum Chhaya, 18.

The four are wanted on charges of intentional violence and damage with aggravating circumstances. The warrent says they have fled.

Three men have already been arrested in connection with the attack on University of Cambodia English professor Suy Sareth, 52, which occurred on March 11 after he fled the scene of a traffic accident before being chased down by an angry mob.

The mob threw rocks at Sareth and repeatedly punched him. He was sent to Vietnam for treatment of severe facial injuries, then to Thailand in early April. On March 12, Sareth’s lawyer Chhi Sambath filed a lawsuit against his assailants demanding some $300,000 in compensation, and the beatings drew the attention of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who spoke out against mob violence.

“He’s getting a bit better because he can eat or chew because they replaced his teeth with artificial ones,” Sambath said. “He also started to speak a little bit, but he cannot think too much or he gets a headache.”

Widely circulated videos of the incident showed at least four instigators of the attack, one of them later identified by authorities as Kimhak, whom authorities said at the time was former Daun Penh guard Pheach Kimhak. It was unclear when he had left his position, and the warrant refers to him as a guard. The unit has gained infamy for its use of force against protesters.

The warrants orders public forces to arrest the men and hand them to Phnom Penh Municipal Court before April 24.

Three others – Yath Tithya, 21, An Vinty, 21, and An Phally, 31 – were arrested on March 13 and 14, and held on charges of intentional violence and destruction of property in connection to the case.

In all, authorities are pursuing 10 suspects, said Bun Satya, the municipal police’s minor crime bureau chief. Three still must be identified.

“We are burning hands and legs to find them,” he said.

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