The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday charged seven Vietnamese men with intentional violence after an attack on a group of youths on Sunday evening in Chbar Ampov district left a 19-year-old man with gash requiring more than 30 stitches, officials said.
The incident in Prek Pra commune provoked an angry protest on Monday when the victim, Keo Sotheara, was detained overnight by police despite suffering a serious wound inflicted by a broken bottle in what witnesses said was an unprovoked attack on youths playing football.
District penal police chief Mey Chakriya, who arrested the men at their rental house close to where the incident occurred, said the court charged the seven men Wednesday afternoon, though he did not know the name of the investigating judge in charge of the case.
“They have been sent to Prey Sar prison now for pretrial detention,” he said.
Deputy municipal court prosecutor Va Sakada confirmed that she questioned the men at the court and sent the case to the investigating judge but did not have further information.
“I don’t know which judge is handling this case or what the men were charged with,” she said.
The victim’s mother, Kong Sophy, filed a complaint on Tuesday demanding compensation due to the seriousness of the wound to his upper back and emotional distress.
“I am very happy to hear the news and I hope my son will get justice,” she said, referring to the court’s decision to charge the men. He added, however, that she worried that the court would eventually rule in favor of the Vietnamese men.
Ny Chakriya, senior investigator for local rights group Adhoc, whose lawyers are representing the victim, welcomed the court’s decision but expressed concern that the charge of intentional violence was overly lenient.
“I welcome the charge but it seems too light—the victim could easily have had his neck cut and could have died,” he said, adding that Adhoc’s lawyers were gathering more evidence in the case.
“If we look at what really happened—seven people attacked one person—the charge should have been one of attempted killing,” he said.