The family of a man alleged to have been beaten by provincial police in Stung Treng’s Siem Bok district on Saturday has filed a lawsuit against three police officers, despite authorities maintaining that the injuries came as the result of a gang fight.
Eighteen-year-old Dim Kakvey was allegedly assaulted by police in Koh Preah commune on Saturday night after he was punched twice by a group of delinquents.
“My son was on the way home . . . when he was punched two times by another group . . . but the police did not arrest them, and instead looked for my son and beat him,” said Heang Khon, the victim’s father.
“My son did not cause any injury to anybody, but the police beat him like a cat or dog, punching him in his face, causing his nose to bleed. When in custody at the commune office, they kept beating and kicking him all over his body and head.”
However, provincial police chief Mao Dara offered a completely different account.
“They fought each other, gangsters and gangsters,” he said. “When our police went to intervene, the [two groups of] youth had dispersed and there was only one young man [Kakvey].”
“He . . . fought with the police, biting one police officer’s hand. The police did not beat him but arrested him,” he added. “It is impossible that commune police officers hurt people. They only want to protect them.”
Chhum Seanghak, deputy court administration officer, said the court had received the case and it was in the hands of the prosecutor.
The case bears some resemblance to an ongoing case in Kandal, in which a man was allegedly beaten to death in police custody, despite authorities initially attributing his death to “a mob of villagers”.
Kandal Provincial Court prosecutor Lim Sokuntha yesterday said that provincial police had summonsed the three police suspects twice but they had failed to appear, adding that the prosecutors were looking into the case and “considering whether to issue a summons”.