Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district police yesterday said they were investigating the alleged beating of a man by a group of opposition supporters, though the opposition claimed the purported victim may have been a provocateur.
Hour Mengvang, deputy district police chief, confirmed having received the complaint, filed by Sek Samon on Monday, and said police were going to question the alleged victim yesterday evening.
The confrontation occurred on Saturday at around 5:40pm, and was captured in several videos circulated online. In one video, a CNRP supporter is heard accusing Samon of driving on the wrong side of the street. One video, meanwhile, shows several CNRP supporters going after Samon, punching him and kicking him.
Another shows a CNRP supporter almost grabbing Samon by the neck, and another slapping him on the chest after Samon tries to strike one of the supporters.
In his complaint, Samon claims a CNRP supporter cursed him and threw a bunch of keys at him, almost hitting him on the head. He said he stopped his moto, and an argument broke out, leading to the assault.
“I was beaten by 10 Cambodia National Rescue Party people, resulting in a black and swollen left eye,” his complaint reads. “They jointly beat me and kicked me all over my body.”
Reached yesterday, Samon said the supporters accused him of driving the wrong way while they were marching, but insisted the group hadn’t started marching yet and that he had simply driven past.
“I was a little drunk, but I was not causing trouble,” he added.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann, however, said the alleged victim was in fact the instigator, and had attempted to drive his motorbike into the rally.
“Six or seven people pushed him to the ground to keep him from going into the rally,” he said, adding that Samon also struck CNRP guards who had stopped him for security reasons.
Sovann said the videos of the incident had been selectively edited, and claimed Samon had arrived with a district security guard and another person who was filming the commotion.
“I think there was a plan to instigate violence,” he said. “He insisted on going into the march . . . Why go into the march?”
Hun Manith, the second son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, shared one of the videos on Face- book, with a message asking if the CNRP couldn’t control its rallies, “how about controlling the whole country?”
Additional reporting by Yesenia Amaro