Four Interior Ministry police officers have lodged a complaint with Director General of National Police Hok Lundy following an incident where Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara slapped a police officer for allegedly acting in a threatening matter with an AK-47 rifle toward civilians.
Chea Sophara has admitted slapping the police officer on the face and said Thursday he is standing by his actions, adding that all the officers concerned are lucky they did not end up in jail.
According to a statement from Phan Sambath, Interior Protection Police, the slapping took place April 7 when he was in charge of a four-man unit escorting a consignment of money from the National Treasury building to Pochentong Airport for disbursement to the provinces.
The four officers, all armed with AK-47s, were stopped on Pochentong Airport road by a force of municipal military police. The military police had been alerted by Chea Sophara, who saw the four as he was driving to work. Military police confiscated their weapons and took them to a military police office where they were held until Chea Sophara arrived.
During questioning one of the men was struck across the face by the governor, Phan Sambath said in his statement.
Chea Sophara said Thursday the slapping took place after he personally witnessed the four officers brandishing their weapons and pointing them in at civilians on the airport road.
The governor said he ordered military police to stop the officers, whom he called dangerous.
“If four AK-47 guns accidentally opened fire, hundreds of people would be killed. In this problem I have to take action,” Chea Sophara said, adding he struck the officer once as “advice.”
Hok Thinn, director of Interior’s Protection Police department, said Thursday the report has been sent to Hok Lundy, who has in turn filed a report to the Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“My people know the law….I believe they did no wrong as they have done this job since the State of Cambodia and no one has complained,” Hok Thinn said.
“If they do not complain they are worried what Chea Sophara will do in the future,” Hok Thinn said, adding the officers do not want compensation, only justice.