Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
TWO military police captains and two officers were arrested on Saturday, after they allegedly attempted to extort a payment from two villagers before they shot and beat them when they refused to pay in Kampong Speu province.
Nhorn Thol, deputy chief of the Criminal Military Police office at the Kampong Speu Military Police department, said that the four officers were arrested on Saturday after beating and illegally shooting two villagers in the O’Korki village of Samrong Tong district’s Samrong Tong commune.
“They were arrested based on the complaints of the victims’ families,” he said. “They are now being detained at the provincial military police headquarters for questioning and further investigation before they are sent to the court for their charges on Monday or Tuesday.”
He added that two of the four suspects had been identified as Captain Seng Vansak, acting commander of Samrong Tong District Military Police, and Captain Sun Srun, deputy commander of Samrong Tong District Military Police, in addition to two other military police officers who were under their command.
Khuth Sophal, chief of Samrong Tong District Police, said yesterday that charcoal vendors Suon Chanthy, 21, and Men Bora, 19, were driving their motorbike cart from Kampong Speu to Phnom Penh in order to sell charcoal in Phnom Penh.
He added that they arrived at a police checkpoint in O’Korki village, and were stopped by the officers who ordered them to pay 15,000 riels (about US$3.70) in order to pass.
“The victims were forced to pay 15,000 riels to the group of these four military policemen but they refused because they had no money … because they had already paid for many checkpoints along the road,” Khuth Sophal said, adding that the suspects then attempted to drive past the checkpoint towards Phnom Penh.
“They were then shot by an AK-47 rifle by Captain Seng Vansak to stop them from driving, and after the shooting they were detained and beaten by the group of policemen.”
He added that Suon Chanthy was shot and seriously injured by a gunshot wound on his left leg and is now staying at Kossamak Hospital for treatment, while Men Bora was beaten with pistols and wounded on his head and is now staying at a referral hospital in Kampong Speu.
Rath Thavy, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said that he was now investigating the case.
“I am ready to help and providing legal [assistance] for the victims’ families if they will come to meet us at our office,” he said.
“I think that these military police officers’ activities were very bad and violated the law. I would like to appeal to the court to strongly punish and jail them so that they will not commit it again to other people. It is also a message for competent officials, both police and military police, to stop committing these bad acts in the future.”
The four arrested military police officers could not reached for comment yesterday.