Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man charged for firing slingshot at protesters

Man charged for firing slingshot at protesters

Man charged for firing slingshot at protesters

Two days after uniformed security personnel were recorded on video in Phnom Penh chasing and beating demonstrators at will, a man police say admitted to using a slingshot at the scene to “inflame protesters’ anger towards police” was charged in court.

After two hours of questioning at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Pheng Pha, 36, was charged with causing intentional violence after he allegedly shot projectiles at protesters during clashes near Freedom Park on Sunday morning.

During the clash – which began when baton-wielding Daun Penh district security guards and military police in full riot gear thwarted unionist groups’ efforts to demonstrate – protesters allegedly saw Pha near Naga Bridge between police and demonstrators using the slingshot against the latter.

Protesters dragged Pha and at least one other man, Ham Hut – whom they accused of using brass knuckles on demonstrators – to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights building in Chamkarmon district’s Boeung Keng Kang 1 commune, demanding justice, Phnom Penh deputy police chief Chuon Narin said at a press conference on Sunday afternoon. UN staff allegedly called police, who arrested Pha and Hut.
Narin told reporters that Pha had admitted to intentionally agitating protesters.

Before Sunday’s clashes, Narin said, a man Pha knew from past Cambodia National Rescue Party-led protests at Freedom Park encouraged him over Facebook to use a slingshot against demonstrators, so that they would become angry at police and intensify clashes.

Hut denies involvement.

Thun Saray, president of rights group Adhoc, said he is reserving judgement of Pha’s actual involvement and intentions during the clashes until more evidence comes forward.

“We cannot say if it is the truth or a lie,” Sary said of Pha’s confession, noting that it’s possible he could have been a provocateur hired by the government to make protesters appear violent towards authorities.

Investigating judge Lim Mok Run ordered that Pha be held in Prey Sar prison for pre-trial detention.

Long Lon, an Adhoc lawyer representing Pha, said yesterday that he will prepare a request for bail on Pha’s behalf.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group