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Officers detained for assault

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A three-minute CCTV video clip posted on Facebook shows the two military officers hitting Sok Titya’s head at his utility firm while they were there to pay the electricity bill. Photo supplied

Officers detained for assault

Two military officers are being held for questioning at the Pailin provincial Military Police headquarters after they allegedly used violence on a disabled staff member at a utility firm in Sala Krao district on Wednesday.

The electricity firm, MSP, said the officers failed to pay the electricity bill on time.

National Military police spokesman Eng Hy said on Sunday a legal case was being built against the officers.

“[Authorities] are working on the case at the headquarters in accordance with legal procedures,” he said.

Neither Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat nor provincial Military Police commander Van Nalong could be reached for comment on Sunday.

A three-minute CCTV video clip posted on Facebook shows the two officers hitting Sok Titya’s head while they were there to pay the bill. Accompanied by eight other military officers, the two also allegedly insulted and threatened to kill Titya.

The officers were identified by local media as Chhin Nom and Yoy Sido, a border military commander.

Sido said in a Military Police report that on Tuesday, he brought one million riel ($250) to settle the bill, but the firm rejected, requiring the unit to pay a total of more than three million riel.

He then contacted the firm’s branch manager, Tith Vathon, who agreed to let him pay the balance the next day.

When the military officers failed to turn up as promised, Titya ordered the firm’s technicians to remove the electricity meter from the military unit.

“After the removal, we paid 3.16 million riel to have electricity reconnected. But while paying the bill, [the officers] hit [Titya] lightly out of anger after a brief argument,” the report said.

After the incident, Sido offered to pay six million riel in compensation to settle the case out of court, but Titya demanded $30,000.

After a negotiation on Friday, both sides agreed to $10,000 compensation, with Sido promising to pay $500 monthly, the report said.

However, Sido said after the deal was made, a video clip of the incident went viral on Facebook.

In a separate video clip, Titya claimed that Sido brought his officers to assault him at the workplace even though he is disabled and could not defend himself. He called on Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of National Defence Tea Banh to find him justice.

“They hit me although I was just following the firm’s policy, which required electricity disconnection if customers fail to settle their bills. The military unit had not paid its bill for six months already,” he said.

Yim Mengly, the coordinator for rights group Adhoc in Battambang and Pailin provinces, said using violence is against military discipline and punishable by law.

“Using violence on disabled, pregnant women and children is a serious violation of the law. Therefore, [the officers] should be punished under the Criminal Code,” he said.

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