Beaten Handcart-Puller Files Complaint Against Military Police

A handcart-puller who was knocked unconscious by military police during a May 26 protest in Poipet City—sparking an attack on the local customs office—on Friday filed a court complaint requesting $10,000 in compensation from his attackers, a rights monitor said Sunday.

Mao Sun, 32, lost consciousness as military police kicked and punched a group of cart-pullers who were obstructing access to the Poipet crossing into Thailand in protest of arbitrary fees being levied on border traders, leading other traders to launch rocks at the customs building.

Soum Chamkea, the Banteay Meanchey provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said Mr. Sun on Friday asked his organization to file a complaint with the provincial court seeking compensation.

The complaint named “two military police officers—one from the Poipet City military police and another from the Banteay Meanchey provincial military police—to demand $10,000 in compensation,” Mr. Chankea said.

“We have arranged our Adhoc lawyers for Mr. Mao Sun’s court case against both military police officers.”

Or Borin, commander of the provincial military police force, said he was not concerned about Mr. Sun’s complaint. “Let him sue us. I don’t want to comment,” he said.

Mr. Sun’s collapse during his arrest at the protest on May 26 led other cart-pullers, who believed he had been killed, to attack the customs office, in turn leading the military police to open fire above their heads.

Chief provincial prosecutor Phan Vannaroth, who last week received a report from provincial authorities and police about the attack on the customs office, said he was still conducting his own investigation into the event.

“I received the victim’s complaint at our court offices on Friday about the military police beating and kicking him and handcuffing him until he lost consciousness, but I am reviewing this case very carefully…to find the evidence and witnesses,” Mr. Vannaroth said.

“We have separated this case into two: one case with the military police beating and kicking the victims—Mao Sun lost consciousness—and the demonstrators’ violence that destroyed the customs office,” he said.

“These cases are two separate cases, even though they occurred on the same day, and I need to review them carefully, and I have not yet made my decision.”

Mr. Vannaroth added that he had not yet identified any suspects in the attack on the customs office.

Mr. Sun’s wife, Ran Sreymom, said Sunday that her husband had been unable to work as a border trader since he was beaten by the military police last week.

“My husband can’t carry heavy goods now. He just sits on my handcart to guard the goods. It’s only me carrying the goods back from the Thai market, because he is wounded and still has pain inside,” she said.

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