Commission Set Up to Probe Military Police Beating of Truck Driver

National military police commander Sao Sokha has set up an ad hoc commission to investigate a group of officers who allegedly shot at a truck that drove through a pair of checkpoints in Thbong Khmum province on Thursday night, then beat up the driver and his assistant after stopping them.

A copy of the order, signed by General Sokha on Monday, appoints Sin Sophany, the head of the national military police’s justice commissariat, to lead the nine-member commission and names Kong Sotharin, who heads the military police’s crime office, as his deputy.

“The commission will investigate the shooting event that occurred during operations by senior and junior soldiers of the Thbong Khmum provincial military police and Prey Veng provincial military police on March 19,” the order reads.

Nen Sida, 30, the driver, and Thoeun Noeub, 20, his assistant, were stopped in Prey Veng province’s Svay Antor district on the night of March 19 after crashing into a car and blowing through two military police checkpoints in neighboring Thbong Khmum, according to local police.

The local police say the military police officers shot through the windshield of the truck to stop it, tied up the driver and his assistant, and beat them. Photographs of the injured, hogtied men were widely circulated on social media over the weekend. The driver and his assistant were released from custody the day after the shooting.

The driver has said he drove through the checkpoints because he thought they were set up illegally by corrupt officers to extort bribes. He said the officers then hit him in the face with the butt of an AK-47, tied his arms and legs together behind his back and proceeded to kick him while he was on the ground.

Gen. Sokha’s order gives the new commission the authority to meet with officials in each province and summon suspects for questioning. The commission must then report back to Gen. Sokha directly.

Prey Veng deputy military police commander Kim Phanny said the commission was expected to arrive in his province today. He said there were six military police suspects in all, three from each province, and that an unspecified number of police from Svay Antor district may also have been involved.

Prey Veng military police commander Sok Krin said the identities of the suspects were known, but refused to share them. He said the officers were all still on the job and had not yet been arrested because authorities were awaiting the results of their meeting with the commission today.

“We have already investigated the shooting and the national military police will come tomorrow to collect the information about this case,” he said.

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