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Logger accuses forestry officials of assault

Logger accuses forestry officials of assault

Siem Reap Province
A MAN in Siem Reap province has accused Forestry Administration officials of beating him after forcing him to pay a bribe while he was transporting wood to a warehouse, though a provincial court official said Monday that there were no plans to pursue the case because the man had not suffered any injuries.

Ham Som, 26, who is seeking treatment in a referral hospital in Sotr Nikum district, said three Forestry Administration officials accosted him while he was carrying the wood on Sunday morning and demanded that he pay 70,000 riels (about US$17).

He said that after he paid the fee, the officials continued to argue with him over whether he would be able to keep the wood before beating him with the handle of a knife on his backside.

“I do not know why they hit me because I already gave them the money,” he said.

Ham Som’s mother, Lit Sokha, 46, said her son was planning to use the wood to make money to pay for rice, adding that she had arrived at the scene shortly after he was beaten.

“When I arrived, I saw my son lying on the ground,” she said, adding: “I demand that they pay $5,000 to compensate my son, and I have already filed a complaint against them.”

However, Siem Reap provincial court prosecutor Ty Soveinthal said Monday that, although he had ordered district police to briefly detain one of the officials accused in the attack, he had decided not to pursue the complaint after visiting Ham Som in hospital and concluding that he had not suffered any injuries.

Soun Mengly, one of the accused officials, denied the allegation against him before declining to comment further.