Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mass arrests over mob beating in capital

Mass arrests over mob beating in capital

People tend to a man who was severely beaten by a group of people late on Wednesday night after an altercation broke out in Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey district.
People tend to a man who was severely beaten by a group of people late on Wednesday night after an altercation broke out in Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey district. Photo supplied

Mass arrests over mob beating in capital

Phnom Penh police on Wednesday night arrested more than two dozen suspects following a vicious mob beating that nearly killed a man in Meanchey district and saw more than 50 military police officers respond to the scene.

The 28 arrested are workers at the Ci Hu Hui ceramic tiles warehouse, police said yesterday. Their victim, 24-year-old Reth Thorn, who lives in a rental house near the warehouse, was in serious condition when he arrived at Calmette Hospital, they added.

“The victim’s condition is very serious right now,” said Or Kim San, secretary of the capital’s military police. “The group beat him attempting to kill him. Luckily, he survived and was sent to the hospital on time with the help from the neighbours.”

But interviews with the victim, suspects and witnesses offered conflicting accounts of the attack.

According to Thorn, the warehouse workers were drinking and dancing near his apartment. Angry at the noise, he emerged and got into an altercation with the revellers, which quickly escalated into an uneven fight in which suspects allegedly used a “sword” and an iron rod to beat and slash him.

The suspects then locked themselves in the warehouse following the attack, necessitating the call for heavy reinforcements, who broke into the building and made the arrests.

Several residents, who had initially called police to the scene, offered a similar version of events.

But the suspected workers had a different story. They claimed that Thorn was one of a group of 10 people that had earlier beaten up two of their own, who then ran to the warehouse for help.

According to the suspects, 16 of them came out of the warehouse armed with iron pipes, knives and other tools to fight their assailants, only to see nine of the attackers run off, leaving Thorn to suffer the consequences alone. Twelve warehouse workers never left the premises, the suspects said.

“This is the claim brought by the suspects; when they fought back, the other group ran away, leaving the victim alone,” said Kim San.

Police said they were still investigating and had not yet reached any conclusion.

A Calmette Hospital staffer said yesterday a man matching Thorn’s description was admitted on Wednesday night but she declined to name him.

The staffer said the patient had been moved out of the hospital’s emergency unit earlier yesterday, meaning that his condition has improved. A doctor who treated the victim was unavailable for comment.

Additional reporting by Igor Kossov

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a