Police arrested Kompong Chhnang provincial court clerk Ly Sothy, 49, and his niece Vat Nakiny, 35, on Tuesday for using abusive language and threatening Phnom Penh Municipal police Commissioner Heng Pov.
“I filed a complaint against Ly Sothy. I accused him of scolding me and threatening me,” Heng Pov said Wednesday. “It is not only me, but some other police officials and a schoolmaster also complained against the [court clerk], too.”
It was unclear Wednesday whether Ly Sothy and Vat Nakiny will be formally charged. Kompong Chhnang Chief Prosecutor Mak Pany said he was waiting for the police report.
According to Heng Pov, the court clerk threatened him for failing to arrest a Russei Keo district schoolmaster whom his niece had accused of beating her son.
Vat Nakiny accused the Chraing Chamras primary school teacher of hitting her son on the head and was demanding $3,000 in compensation.
“After our police worked hard to investigate, we found that the schoolmaster had done nothing wrong. The schoolmaster only used his hand to push the boy to be in line to respect the national anthem,” Heng Pov said.
“That woman called me and asked me about her complaint… she urged me to arrest the schoolmaster,” Heng Pov said.
“Suddenly another man was talking to me and shouted at me strongly ‘are you going to arrest him or not? If you are not, you must be careful for your safety! I work for Kompong Chhnang court,’” he added.
Police later discovered the number belonged to Ly Sothy, clerk for Kompong Chhnang court Chief Ing Sarun.
Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said there is no law forbidding the use of rude words against a police officer, although slander is a crime. He also questioned whether using threatening words against a police officer was a crime. “I think there is no law about threatening police officers. There is a law about threatening witnesses,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Erik Wasson)