A group of Chinese men was arrested in Sihanoukville on Tuesday night after a violent clash at a massage parlor resulted in police firing their guns to “calm down the situation,” an official said on Wednesday.
Six of the men were at a parlor in Pi commune when two masseuses accused some of the men of sexual harassment, according to Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Major General Chuon Narin.
He said that a language barrier had caused a verbal argument to escalate into violence, drawing a mob of locals, including motorbike taxi drivers, when news spread that the men had assaulted the masseuses.
“The women shouted and began having a verbal argument, and, in general, the Chinese and Cambodians couldn’t understand each other,” said Maj. Gen. Narin.
The six men were taken from the scene to the provincial police station to separate them from the mob, but while police officers were still at the scene, seven other Chinese men arrived in a car armed with sticks, said Maj. Gen. Narin. He said the seven could have been called by the six arrested men.
Police then fired their guns into the air, he said.
“We couldn’t control the situation, so we had to fire guns several times to calm down the situation,” he said.
The 13 were still being questioned at the station on Wednesday and would be sent to the court if the police decide any laws had been broken, the police chief said.