Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Military police to investigate allegations of Sihanoukville violence

Military police to investigate allegations of Sihanoukville violence

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Military police are searching for its personnel who allegedly attacked handcuffed villagers in the Sihanoukville clash. Photo supplied

Military police to investigate allegations of Sihanoukville violence

Sao Sokha, the commander of the National Military Police, on Wednesday warned of legal action against the Preah Sihanouk provincial unit if it was found to have used excessive force against villagers during clashes in Prey Nop district last Thursday.

After a man was seriously injured upon being shot in the protest, a video clip appeared on Facebook purportedly showing one provincial military police officer beating a protester with an AK-47 assault rifle and another stepping on someone’s head while on the ground with his hands tied behind his back.

Sokha, who is a deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, told The Post on Wednesday that, after two days of its formation, the technical team had yet to conclude its investigations.

However, he said if it was found that Preah Sihanouk provincial military police officials had used excessive force, then they would be punished according to the law.

“The footage [appears to] show the violation of the rights of citizens by officers wearing military police uniforms while enforcing the law. This leads our investigation to [discover] how many people caused this and whether they took such action themselves or were ordered to do so.”

Read more: Families told they have ‘no right to land’ vow to fight on

He could not confirm when the investigation would end, but said it would not be prolonged and there would be a press conference upon its conclusion to show transparency.

The six-member action committee was set up on Monday under the leadership of Sao Chan Krisna, the chief of the military police’s Inspection Bureau, to carry out an investigation into the incident.

Orn Ien, 58, the mother of Pov Saroth, the shooting victim, told The Post that her son was recovering in hospital but would need treatment for months.

Ien said her family are from Battambang province but her son was working in construction for three months in Preah Sihanouk.

She said her son told her he did not participate in the protest but was riding his motorbike when he was caught up in the incident when villagers ran away en masse. She said her son did not attempt to flee as he was not involved.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Military police are searching for its personnel who allegedly attacked handcuffed villagers in the Sihanoukville clash. Photo supplied

According to a report by Yun Min, the governor of Preah Sihanouk province, which was submitted to Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, the military police team had been instructed by the provincial committee before the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling that shooting was against the rules of engagement.

He said police may have shot in the air as a warning but shooting a protester would not have been ordered by anyone.

Soeung Sen Karuna, a spokesman and human rights monitor with rights group Adhoc said: “If the committee is really willing, it will take action against the lower authorities.

“We will follow up further as to what action they will take and whether they take action in accordance with the law. We will wait and see as to whether the committee is accurate or not.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid