Court Questions 7 Vietnamese Suspects in Unprovoked Attack

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday questioned seven Vietnamese men arrested Sunday evening in Chbar Ampov district for allegedly attacking a 19-year-old man, officials said.

The attack, which left the victim in need of more than 30 stitches, occurred during an altercation between the Vietnamese men and a group of Khmer youths who were playing football in Prek Pra commune.

On Monday morning, more than 100 people protested outside the district police station after the victim, Keo Sotheara, who police originally said was 16, was detained overnight. He was released later that day.

District penal police chief Mey Chakriya said the seven suspects were sent to the court Tuesday morning but added that police had not determined whether they were Vietnamese nationals.

“I think they might have been born in Cambodia or have lived here for a long time because most of them speak Khmer, but they don’t have any documents because they always move from place to place for work,” Mr. Chakriya said, adding that police had not been in contact with the Vietnamese Embassy.

Deputy municipal court prosecutor Va Sakada said she questioned the men and sent the case on to the investigating judge.

“The case is still in the process of investigation and must remain secret,” she said.

Ny Chakriya, senior investigator for local rights group Adhoc, said the organization was providing legal representation for the victim at the request of his family.

“We have filed the documents and this morning provided a lawyer for the victim,” he said.

Kong Sophy, 44, said she filed a complaint on behalf of her son because she was worried about his health.

“My son is weak. He is vomiting and dizzy and cannot stand up properly, so I want the court to put these men in jail and provide me with compensation,” she said.

Mr. Sotheara said he had been playing football with friends when the suspects attacked them unprovoked.

“I am afraid to sleep, in case this happens again. I want these Vietnamese men punished according to the law,” he said.

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