The wife of a man allegedly beaten to death by the son of a commune police official has filed a complaint to the Battambang Provincial Military Police accusing commune officers of falsifying the report to exclude the beating, and instead attributing the death to natural causes, military police said yesterday.
According to military police deputy commander Som Vylong, his office received a complaint from Veourn Nat, 21, wife of victim Sok Soamuny, 29, saying that Prek Preah Sdech commune police had falsely ascribed her husband’s death on April 15 to a syncope – a brief loss of consciousness due to a lack of oxygen in the brain. In the report, she said, no mention was made of the beating he allegedly received at the hands of Rom Chandy, the son of a commune police official.
Witness statements corroborated Nat’s claims, Vylong added, revealing that Soamuny – who left behind a two-month-old child – had died after being punched in the jaw and kicked in the neck, and that Chandy had escaped immediately after beating the victim.
“Now, we are preparing the lawsuit for the court in order to arrest the suspect to be sentenced legally,” he said.
Sorn Kosal, chief of Battambang town police’s crime department, stood by the syncope diagnosis, saying that experts at the scene pointed to signs such as involuntary ejaculation, and blood pooling in the victim’s fingertips as evidence of such an event.
However, Kosal maintained that, given the serious injuries to the victim’s head and right side – and multiple witness reports saying that Chandy had struck the victim, who hit his head on the concrete floor – local police would also be seeking Chandy’s arrest for unintentional murder.
Witness statements, Kosal said, showed that Soamuny had grown up in Battambang, but was living in Banteay Meanchey province. On the first day of Khmer New Year, he went to visit his grandparents in Battambang, where he ran into Chandy, whom he had known as a child.
At around 10pm, after an evening of drinking, Soamuny grabbed Chandy’s shirt and asked if her remembered him. Angered, Chandy said he didn’t know Soamuny, then punched and shoved the victim, knocking him to the floor.
Soamuny was taken to the hospital, but pronounced dead on arrival.
“Although the report shows that the victim could have died of syncope, we police still consider this case to be an unintentional murder, because the victim did not pass out and fall to his death on his own,” he said. “The victim died after the problem between the victim and the suspect happened. We are looking for the suspect in order to send him to court.”