Carpenter Charged in Fatal Beating; Soldier Remains at Large

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday charged a carpenter with intentional violence for allegedly beating a man to death on Friday in a fight that ensued after the victim drove his car past a Chroy Changva district construction site and stirred up a cloud of dust.

Chey Bunthoeun, 40, died of his injuries on his way to the hospital immediately after the fight. According to police, he drove back to the construction site after workers yelled at him for having driven past at high speed, kicking up the dust cloud.

Nuon Sok, 28, the carpenter, was arrested the next day. A second suspect, a soldier providing security at the site for the landowner, Major General Vong Khan Sarit of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ elite Brigade 70, remains at large.

On Monday, deputy district police chief Eak Sarei Vuth said Mr. Sok had been charged with intentional violence under aggravating circumstances, which includes accidental murder and carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Mr. Sarei Vuth said the carpenter was charged by deputy prosecutor Top Chhunlong and would be sent to Prey Sar prison for provisional detention today.

Phnom Penh deputy police chief Song Ly said authorities were searching for the second suspect, Men Morn, a Brigade 70 soldier.

“We have arrested one; now we are asking the court to issue the warrant to arrest the other,” he said.

Just before the fight began on Friday, Chey Bunthoeun had called his brother, Chey Sopheak, a Prek Tasek commune police officer, to join him at the construction site to confront the workers. Mr. Sopheak was also beaten but survived the attack and was discharged from Calmette Hospital on Monday.

Mr. Sopheak said at least four people had attacked him and his brother, not two, including another soldier whom police had arrested the day of the fight but soon released, claiming he was not involved. He also said the charge the court leveled against Mr. Sok was too light.

“I can’t accept the decision because they intended to kill me and my brother,” said Mr. Sopheak, who wants the court to charge the suspects with murder and attempted murder.

He said he had gone to the construction site to make a report on what the workers had yelled at his brother, not to fight.

“I just went to see and make a report because I am a police officer. But when I parked my motorbike, I don’t know why, they started attacking me,” he said.

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