The Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court on Thursday charged a bus driver’s assistant with indecent assault for inappropriately touching a female British tourist on a night bus on Tuesday, local police said.
Chuon Narin, the provincial police chief, confirmed that Long Sopheap, 31, an assistant to a driver for the Virak Buntham bus company, was charged Thursday evening and sent to provisional detention at the Preah Sihanouk provincial prison.
An Chhun, chief of the anti-human trafficking bureau of the provincial police, said that the 31-year-old British tourist had been traveling on a night bus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville when she was allegedly assaulted by the driver’s assistant. She filed a police complaint on Tuesday morning, shortly after her bus arrived in the resort city.
“She told police that she was traveling on the bus from Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk province. When the bus was just past the outskirts of Phnom Penh at about 3 or 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Long Sopheap fell over her and touched her body,” Mr. Chhun said. He declined to elaborate on the nature of the alleged assault, but said that Mr. Sopheap had denied the accusation.
“According to Long Sopheap, he sat down to pick up a blanket, and when he stood up he made contact with her,” Mr. Chhun said.
Nov Keavirak, a supervisor at Virak Buntham Bus Company, said that Mr. Sopheap had also told the company that he did not intend to touch the woman.
“The supervisor of the Virak Buntham branch in Preah Sihanouk called and questioned the driver’s assistant, and he said that he came to sleep near the lady but he did nothing to her,” said Mr. Keavirak.
“Our company’s policy is to not allow drivers and assistant drivers to interfere with or disturb guests. The company will fire him if the court finds him guilty.”