A prominent businessman, who on Thursday handed his son in to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after a warrant for his arrest was issued for violently assaulting a man with a gun, said Friday that he had been personally advised by Prime Minister Hun Sen to turn his son over to the authorities.
Okhna Duong Ngieb, a property developer and police brigadier general who is deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s immigration police department, brought his son, Duong Chhay, 20, to court on Thursday afternoon, the same day that his other son, Duong Kimlong, 17, along with a bodyguard, were charged with causing injury, illegal weapon use and damaging private property.
The 17-year-old and his bodyguard were detained at PJ prison ahead of trial, while Mr. Duong Chhay was wanted on the same arrest warrant.
“I had to hand [my son] in because I am a high-ranking official in the police unit for almost 30 years,” Mr. Ngieb said on Friday.
“Samdech Hun Sen personally advised me to do so, and as his inferior, I followed him. This is in order to set a good example and to practice the law so that our society is safe,” he said.
According to military police, Mr. Ngieb’s sons were involved in a drunken row with another group of men last Saturday night in the newly opened Singaporean restaurant Greylang Lor 9 in Chamkar Mon district’s Boeng Keng Kang I commune.
Mr. Kimlong allegedly pulled a gun and pistol-whipped 28-year-old Mom Dina on the head, causing serious injuries. The injured man has since filed a complaint. The siblings and three bodyguards fled the scene, but police arrested Mr. Kimlong and one of the bodyguards early Sunday morning near the Cambodiana Hotel, and confiscated one handgun, an AK-47 assault rifle and 20 bullets. Two of the youths’ bodyguards are still at large.
The court was questioning Mr. Chhay on Friday evening, according to a court official, and it was not known if he would be detained in prison with his younger brother. Mr. Ngieb, however, attempted to downplay the severity of the crimes his sons are accused of, and he also questioned the military police’s handling of the incident.
“This is an unintentional act among kids. In life, we all make mistakes,” he said.
“My son is only 17, he doesn’t even know how to use a gun. He told me that military police made him carry the gun, took his picture and sent it to newspapers,” he said.
Mr. Ngieb said his son has asked his lawyer to file a complaint with the Ministry of Justice and human rights organizations over his treatment by police.
National military police spokesman Kheng Tito said that it was normal for police to take a picture when they make an arrest—as evidence—and he insisted that the AK-47 assault rifle belonged to the teenager.
“It was found in the trunk of his [Duong Kimlong’s] white Mercedes with 12 bullets,” he said.
Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the national police, said that it was unfortunate for Mr. Ngieb, a police general, that his sons had misbehaved. “No father wants his children to do bad things…but the law is implemented on any individual who commits wrongdoing,” he said.