Four military police officers have been suspended from their duties after an incident last week in which officials shot at, arrested and beat two men driving a rice truck that ran a checkpoint.
On March 19, a truck in Tbong Khmum’s O’Reang-ou district, refused to stop at a weigh station, prompting police to open fire on the vehicle, hitting the truck’s windshield and front tyres. The driver subsequently said he had driven through the checkpoint believing it was a fake operated by robbers.
As the truck fled the station, it hit a military car, which then hit a pedestrian. The chase that ensued ended in Prey Veng province, where three officers came to the aid of the pursuing officer from Tbong Khmum and helped in subduing and arresting the passenger and driver in a fashion one local police officer described as excessive.
The suspension of the four officers comes amid an ongoing investigation into the incident launched last week by the National Military Police.
“We are working to find who else is involved in the matter [and] the reasons behind what happened … and who did [what] directly,” said National Military Police commander Sao Sokha, who convened the investigation committee. Sokha said there may be additional officers involved and more severe disciplinary action taken, depending on what the questioning reveals.
Nen Sida, the truck driver, said he was interviewed by the committee on Tuesday afternoon. Sida is also seeking $50,000 in damages, citing bodily harm and loss of property.