Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kandal cops on the lam after fatal beating



Kandal cops on the lam after fatal beating

Authorities conduct an investigation last week in Kandal after a man was killed after allegedly stealing a motorbike. National Police
Authorities conduct an investigation last week in Kandal after a man was killed after allegedly stealing a motorbike. National Police

Kandal cops on the lam after fatal beating

Three police officers have been implicated in the murder of a man in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district on Friday, contradicting an earlier claim that the man had been fatally beaten by a mob after attempting to steal one of the officers’ motorbikes.

The three police officers are now at large, a police official said yesterday, with the victim’s family maintaining that no robbery had even taken place.

In fact, in an account posted on the National Police website, the dead man’s wife and one of his companions that night both said that victim Chamroeun Seyha, 26, had been badly beaten while in police custody, only to later die of his wounds after being sent to hospital.

Seyha was beaten to death on Friday by what provincial police on Sunday said was “a mob of villagers” who had gathered in response to 33-year-old district police officer Chhay Sina’s cries for help after five men purportedly attempted to rob him of his motorbike.

However, since the alleged robbery, Sina – along with district deputy police chief Pheadey Vitou, 33, and district police officer Kheang Songtheng, 31 – appears to have skipped town. “The police officer who was robbed [has] now escaped, along with two other police officers,” confirmed a district police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Kandal provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun yesterday avoided directly naming the three as suspects, but nonetheless noted that the suspects, whoever they may be, would not escape justice. “If they flee, it means that they committed the crime,” he added.

Meanwhile, in statements posted by the National Police, Khuon Sreymom, 21, the wife of the deceased, and Tith Leap, 22, one of the four surviving victims of the beating, claimed no robbery had actually taken place.

According to Sreymom, her husband and his friends had been confronted by district police at the gate of Thun Mon pagoda in Prek Koy commune’s Svay Tany village on their way home, and were later beaten and kicked after police accused them of trying to steal the motorbike.

Her account was echoed by Leap, who said he and the deceased, as well as three other friends on another motorbike, had overtaken Sina’s motorbike after he overtook them, with no intention to rob the officer.

When they arrived at the gate of Thun Mon pagoda, however, they were stopped by Sina and another police officer, who were later joined by two more police officers.

“When the two [police officers] arrived, [one of them] pulled the trigger of their gun, which was pointed in the air, but no bullet was fired,” Leap told the National Police. “Then, they started beating and kicking us.”

“At the police station, they [continued] beating us for an hour by kicking and kneeing us in our stomach,” he added.

The claims, however, were refuted by district police chief Seng Socheat, who asserted that the deceased and his friends had in-tended to rob Sina, and maintained that a mob was to blame.

“They hit Sina’s motorbike from behind and he fell down. They also walked to Sina, who then pointed a gun at them and called [the two officers] to help,” he said. “The villagers thought it was a robbery, so they beat and kicked them until our forces arrived.”

However, as CCHR’s advocacy director Piseth Duch noted yesterday, the Ministry of Interior “currently lacks practices to investigate police conduct”.

“We see very few cases of the Ministry of Interior performing thorough investigations of police officers who break the law, she said, pointing to an October beating that left two parliamentarians seriously injured.

An investigation into the case yielded no results until three members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit turned themselves in. No further arrests were made despite numerous people being filmed participating.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.