A rights group worker said yesterday he was planning to file a court complaint alleging three senior police officials in Ratanakkiri province assaulted two young men delivering illegal timber to Vietnam late last month.
Pen Bonnar, a provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that the complaint would also allege that the officials took a $400 bribe to free the men and release their boat carrying illegal timber.
The three police officials were said to have beaten Nhim Chanry, 16, and Nith Muth, 22, on Sept 20, after chasing their boat and forcing them to dock in Nhang commune’s Da village, said Pin Nhim, the 16-year-old’s father who made a complaint to Mr Bonnar yesterday.
Mr Bonnar said he plans to file a complaint today with the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court and with the Anticorruption Unit in Phnom Penh later this week.
“In general, there has been a remarkable decline in the smuggling of luxury cut logs and wood to Vietnam, but many competent forces are still involved in alleged corruption of taking money from log smugglers,” Mr Bonnar said.
Mr Nhim, a Talav commune resident, said his son and nephew were briefly detained after the beating, but were released after the bribe was paid.
“My son and my nephew are not loggers, but local villagers in my area are occasionally hired by loggers to ride boats for small income to support their studies,” Mr Nhim said. “Those kids shouldn’t have been beaten because those cops are competent forces who must not use violence toward unarmed kids.”
Mr Nhim said he was seeking $3,000 in compensation for his son and nephew’s injuries.
The three accused police officers and the boat owner could not be reached yesterday.
So Vanthin, Angdong Meas district police chief, dismissed the allegations against his officers as “defaming the police’s reputation.”
“My cops have done nothing wrong regarding the allegation of taking money from loggers and beating people up,” Mr Vanthin said yesterday. “I don’t know why this man is making such allegations, but he is defaming the police’s reputation.”