Five Arrested After Brawl in Sihanoukville

Military police arrested three Italian men and two Cambodians in Sihanoukville on Sunday morning after a fight broke out between them at a beachfront restaurant, officials said Monday.

Keo Sophal, a deputy military police commander for Preah Sihanouk province, said the Italians and Cambodians were apprehended at the Moon Shack I Restaurant on Ochheuteal Beach in Buon commune at about 6:30 a.m.

“We arrested them because they were involved with intentional violence; they were fighting each other,” he said, adding that the five were being held at the provincial military police headquarters.

Mr. Sophal said he could not remember the suspects’ names, but that all of them suffered minor injuries. He declined to comment further.

A Sihanoukville military police officer, who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said that one of the Cambodians arrested was an employee of the restaurant, while the other worked as a moto-taxi driver.

The officer said the brawl broke out early Sunday morning when one of the three Italian men, who had been drinking beer at the restaurant, left the establishment and returned upon realizing that he had left his wallet behind, then became angry when it could not be located.

After a brief verbal confrontation, the Italian man called two friends to join him at the restaurant, the officer said.

“Witnesses said the foreigners came quickly to the scene with a knife and stick,” he said. “First, the foreigners beat and punched a moto-taxi driver, then they fought a Moon Shack employee when he came to help.”

Var Chanthorn, chief of the provincial military police’s security and penal bureau, said the five men were questioned at the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court on Monday afternoon, but were not charged.

“The court did not finish questioning them yet,” he said.

An employee at Moon Shack I, who refused to be named, confirmed that the fight took place, but referred questions to the restaurant’s owner, who could not be reached.

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