The editor-in-chief of a pro-CPP weekly newspaper was beaten bloody on the Koh Kong bridge Monday evening by toll booth guards who refused to accept riel, according to the alleged victim.
Un Kinin, 38, said Tuesday that he was driving east over the bridge when he stopped at the toll gate to pay the crossing tariff—44 baht or 4,400 riel.
He paid the 4,400 riel, but the guards at the gate wanted Thai currency or 400 riel more, in order to pay the money changer who would give them baht, Un Kinin said.
But the gate opened anyway and Un Kinin proceeded.
According to Un Kinin, he then saw five guards chasing him on two motorbikes. They caught up to him and smashed his back windshield. He stopped.
“They pulled me out of the car and hit me without saying any words and then handcuffed me,” Un Kinin said.
A one-legged guard used his crutch to vandalize Un Kinin’s car, while Un Kinin’s mouth and ears bled, Un Kinin said.
He said the guards also stole his watch, necklace, bracelet, camera, tape recorder, two mobile phones, 5,000 baht (about $125) in large denominations and $500 of Panha Vorn Khmer (Khmer Intellectual’s) newspaper’s advertising money.
The guards were employees of the Duty Free Shop Co, a business owned by Koh Kong’s multi-millionaire developer Okhna Ly Yong Phat.
Their deputy director, Heng Yiseng, told a different version of the dispute.
“Un Kinin got drunk and didn’t pay the bridge’s crossing fee,” he said.
Heng Yiseng also alleged that Un Kinin taunted the guards with his press credentials.
Then the journalist turned his vehicle on the guards and “aimed to crash and kill my workers,” Heng Yiseng said.
Keo Sim, investigating judge for Koh Kong provincial court, said Wednesday that he had heard Un Kinin’s court complaint that morning.
“If the victim did something wrong, the company has a right to fine him, not to violate (his) human rights,” the judge said.
Keo Sim said he and police were beginning an investigation into the incident.