28 Arrested After Mob Attack in Phnom Penh

Twenty-eight warehouse workers, including some known gang members, were arrested by military police in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Wednesday night for their involvement in the severe beating of a garment worker, officials said on Thursday.

Maing Sokluch, municipal penal military police chief, said the group of young men beat Chea Chan­thon, 24, with sticks after he got into a fight with a friend of theirs while they were drinking together in Stung Meanchey commune. Mr. Chanthon allegedly punched the man, who then sought out his friends to help him retaliate.

“The gang fight started with a verbal argument between two men during a drinking session last night, which resulted in one man becoming critically injured,” Mr. Sokluch said.

Military police officials detained the mob—also rounding up some men who did not turn out to be involved in the beating—after chasing them into the nearby warehouse where they worked, he said.

The victim was rushed to Cal­mette Hospital at around 7 p.m. in critical condition and was not initially expected to survive, according to deputy district police chief Lak Sideth.

“He sustained critical injuries including a ripped ear, head injuries and broken ribs,” Mr. Sideth said. “At first we thought the victim had died, but now he can tell us information for our military police’s report [on the incident].”

He said military police were at­tempting to identify the main perpetrators of the attack, and said all those arrested were members of a local gang and were employed at the warehouse, which stocks Thai office supplies.

“Now all of them are being questioned by our penal military police…to find out who the fighters are,” Mr. Sideth said.

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