The Samdech Techo Sen Volunteer Lawyers – a legal-aid group set up by Prime Minister Hun Sen to assist the poor – will represent two girls who were allegedly assaulted by the commander of the Military Police in Kratie town for the death of his dog.
The group decided to take the case after tales of Tep Huy’s violent conduct came to light on social media. The two girls are cousins and both are 12 years old. They are residents of Kanhchor commune’s Kanhchor village in Kratie province’s Chhlong district who went to work as housemaids for Huy, earning a salary of $100.
In a video clip that went viral on social media, the girls say they were beaten and tortured by Huy, 42, on October 27.
“The homeowner, Tep Huy, beat me, then he called my cousin to come over to him and he pulled her hair and hit her head on the floor. He then hit her head with a rubber stool and even made her eat dog dung and sleep at the dog’s burial site for one night,” one of the girls narrates in the video clip.
“When Tep Huy hit me, he put his foot on my neck and then one of his men wearing a white shirt came and slapped me in the face,” she says.
In the same video clip, the mother of one of the girls says that after this incident, Huy wanted to mediate the dispute and end it by giving her $20,000 but she refused and called for justice in court.
“He wanted to offer me $20,000 as long as I agreed to withdraw the complaint and he accepted the mistake and apologised. But I said I do not want it because you used violence against my 12-year-old child.
“They do not know anything yet. No matter how wrong they were, he should not have hurt my child to that extent. So I asked for help from others to seek legal justice because we are poor victims,” she says.
Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said in a press statement that Huy has the rank of major in the Military Police in Kratie town. He was arrested on October 30 for the alleged violence. Other individuals involved in the crime have also been arrested.
The arrests came following a preliminary investigation by the Kratie provincial Military Police under the guidance and coordination of the provincial court prosecutor.
‘”Every person who commits a crime must be punished and the law will be enforced,” said the press statement.
Chhan Sreymom, head of administration at the provincial court, said the case was still in the hands of the police.
The prime minister’s volunteer lawyers said they decided to get involved with the case at the request of the girls’ mothers.
Ky Tech, president of the volunteer lawyer group, confirmed to The Post on October 31 that the commune chief and the mother had requested legal assistance which was granted on the basis of the poverty of the victim’s family and the fact that the victims are minors who lack legal protection while the offender is a powerful person.
“The judicial police, the prosecutor and the court have the competence to handle the case, while our lawyers will have the duty of monitoring law enforcement and legally representing the victims,” he said.
The Cambodian National Council for Children (CNCC) also strongly condemned the violence as unacceptable, intentional, brutal and inhumane.
“It is very shocking [that] these two poor girls suffered this brutal and inhumane violence. It is understood that these acts seriously violated the rights of these children, especially the right to life that Cambodia has ratified and enshrined in the Constitution,” it said said in a statement on October 31.
The CNCC called on the authorities at all levels to prosecute acts of aggravated violence like these in order to severely punish the perpetrators and to deter such conduct from occurring in Cambodian society.