Beauty Shop Owner Sues CNRP for Vandalism

The owner of a Phnom Penh beauty products shop has filed a complaint against some of the CNRP’s top brass, claiming they incited demonstrators to vandalize her business and caused $200,000-worth of damage on Sunday evening.

Chhim Vattey, owner and director of Clinique De Beaute Luxe on Norodom Boulevard, on Wednesday recreated the scene outside the three-story building for journalists and Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong, who promised to help repair the damage.

Ms. Vattey claimed that the attack on her business occurred around 7 p.m. as a group of people, blocked by razor-wire barricades that had been set up in front of the business and across No­ro­dom Boulevard, congregated nearby and began insulting her because she had a large CPP banner plastered across her shop.

“A group of the protesters in front of my shop began calling out ‘Mi Yuon,’” she said, referring to a term for female Vietnamese, which has become a racially charged taunt.

“Some protesters threw stones and some threw water bottles into my shop. The damage to my equipment and products, which are bought from Switzerland and Italy, totals more than $200,000,” she added.

The exterior of Ms. Vattey’s shop was visibly damaged Wednesday. One of the shop’s doors was cracked and signs on the shop front were completely destroyed.

As journalists arrived at Clinique De Beaute Luxe, pot plants allegedly smashed in the attack were dragged into their former places, as were broken  signs, before being thrown away onto a nearby heap of trash.

“I filed a complaint [with Phnom Penh Municipal Court] against the demonstrators and the CNRP leaders including Sam Rainsy, Kem Sokha and Mu Sochua because they incited to cause this problem,” Ms. Vattey said. “You can see the damage and we have evidence from security cameras.”

A motorcycle taxi driver, who claimed to see the clash but asked to remain anonymous, said that Ms. Vattey’s shop was barricaded-in by razor-wire and that she had instigated the fracas.

“The people got angry with her because she insulted them and put barbed-wire in front of her shop to block the people from driving past,” he said.

Asked about the complaint, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he had no knowledge of the incident and condemned those involved.

“I have heard nothing of this complaint,” Mr. Sovann said. “But I would like to confirm that our dem­onstrations remained peaceful at all times and we condemn any criminals who damaged property and they must be punished by the law.”

Phnom Penh governor Mr. Socheatvong said that the municipality would help repair the damage at Ms. Vattey’s shop and vowed to hold the perpetrators accountable.

“This is the type of problem that happens often—discrimination against someone because of their political allegiance,” he said. “It is necessary that we find out who is responsible for the violence and destruction of property.”

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