Businesses Assess Damage From Clashes Along Veng Sreng Street

Owners of three businesses along Veng Sreng Street in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district, where clashes broke out between military police and striking garment workers last week, have submitted property damage complaints to local authorities totaling more than $250,000, police said Wednesday.

Military police armed with AK-47 assault rifles shot dead five workers and injured at least 40 during the clashes, which witnesses have described as targeted killings that came in response to volleys of stones and crude Molotov cocktails thrown by striking workers.

The owners of a motorcycle repair store have since the clashes submitted a complaint of $8,000 in damages to district authorities, while the owners of a coffee shop have alleged $17,000 in damages, said Chap Chanta, deputy penal police chief of Pur Senchey district.

The director of the Ekreach medical clinic Wednesday also filed a complaint of $237,290 in damages to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after protesters destroyed the facility when it was alleged that staff had refused to treat striking workers who had been shot by the military police, Mr. Chanta said.

“We will take actions according to the law against those who incited or ordered the demonstrators to do this,” he said. “We have also informed our authorities to also seek out other people whose property was destroyed or damaged during the demonstration.”

A copy of the complaint filed by the Ekreach clinic’s director, Sim Souyeng, describes the damage wrought on the shop.

“An unidentified group threw rocks and used sticks and axes to destroy our shop signage and destroy my clinic, and then the demonstrators flooded in to break the building, resulting in the destruction and theft of our equipment,” the complaint says, before explaining the clinic’s decision to close its doors on Friday.

“When the demonstrators blocked the road and burned the car tires…we decided to close the clinic, since our staff were afraid of coming into work,” Mr. Souyeng explains in the letter.

Across the road from the Ekreach clinic, Long Kemleng said her general goods store had been looted by the protesters but that she would not bother filing a complaint.

“They accused me of being Vietnamese and they burned my tuk-tuk, and then stole my money and goods, worth about $9,000, in the bright light of day, but I will not bother filing a complaint since there is nobody who will take responsibility for the incident,” she said.

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