Construction Worker Arrested for Fatal Beating; Soldier at Large

Police in Phnom Penh arrested a construction worker on Saturday and are searching for a second suspect for allegedly beating a man to death in an argument that ensued after the victim kicked up some dust while driving by a construction site.

Sok Pheaden, a police officer in Chroy Changva district’s Prek Liep commune, said the fight took place on Friday and began when the victim, Chey Bunthoeun, 40, drove by a construction site owned by Vong Khan Sarith, a major general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ elite Brigade 70.

Mr. Pheaden said the workers got upset over the dust the car threw up from the road, which was not blocked off but was rarely used.

“When he drove his car past there, one guy shouted, ‘You are driving fast. Are you in a hurry to die?’” Mr. Pheaden said.

He said Chey Bunthoeun then called his younger brother, Chey Sopheak, a police officer in Prek Tasek commune, who arrived on a motorbike. It was at that point, he said, that the brothers began fighting with Nuon Sok, one of the construction workers, and Men Morn, a Brigade 70 soldier providing security at the site.

“Police quickly arrived at the scene, but the victim was unconscious,” Mr. Pheaden said.

He said Chea Bunthoeun died from his injuries on the way to Calmette Hospital and that his brother was still at the hospital recovering from his wounds.

Prek Tasek commune police chief Khuon Chheang said authorities initially arrested four people that evening, including a Brigade 70 soldier, but soon released them.

“We arrested four suspects for questioning,” he said. “But we decided to release them because they were not involved in the attack.”

Mr. Chheang said the four did witness the fight, however, and identified Mr. Sok and Mr. Morn as the perpetrators. He said Mr. Sok was arrested on Saturday and Mr. Morn was still at large.

A district police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was afraid of Maj. Gen. Khan Sarith, who owns the construction site, said Mr. Morn was also a personal bodyguard to the landowner. He said that Mr. Sok had confessed to the crime.

“Mr. Sok confessed to attacking the victim because they were angry with him for driving fast in front of the construction site,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Khan Sarith could not be reached Sunday.

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