Up to 30 Vietnamese citizens – some armed with sticks and knives – allegedly stormed a Takeo province border checkpoint on Friday to free a Vietnamese man being held for questioning.
Bakdie border checkpoint chief Tom Chamroeun said the man had witnessed “three drunken Vietnamese” nationals attack border police officer Yoak Sai, 48, in Angkor Borei district’s Kok Thloak commune while the officer was docking his boat.
The assailants attacked Sai from behind and then tried to drown him, Chamroeun said.
Sai was unharmed and a Vietnamese bystander who saw what happened shouted to Cambodian authorities for help. When they arrived, the assailants fled into Vietnamese territory. Two escaped on foot while one took off in his boat.
“We held [the witness] in order to ask for the names of the perpetrators, and the Vietnamese people misunderstood, [thinking] that we arrested him and would hurt him, therefore they gathered between 20 to 30 people and came to take him back,” Chamroeun said.
“Some of them held sticks and knives. Because we do not want a problem at the border, we allowed him to go.”
Chamroeun said he had asked Vietnamese authorities for help in looking for the suspects in the officer’s beating.
He said the police were searching for the men and promised to update the Cambodian authorities on the situation within a few days.