Five members of an all-female gang in Siem Reap City were jailed on charges of aggravated violence on Monday after using motorcycle helmets to beat a 16-year-old high school student unconscious on Saturday afternoon following an argument on Facebook, officials said on Tuesday.
Military police say they are still searching for more than a dozen other members of “Sreynik’s Gang,” who lured Kang Darina and two friends to a quiet street with the offer of a truce but instead “welcomed them with helmets.”
“The reason for the fight was an argument on Facebook,” said Uy Choy, chief of the provincial military police’s penal bureau, citing corroborative statements from the suspects and victim, who is in stable condition at the provincial referral hospital with a fractured skull.
At about noon on Saturday, Mr. Choy said, Darina had been chatting on Facebook with Toek Dalin, 16, a fellow student at Dop Makara High School, and addressed her as “me”—a derogatory term for a woman—even after she demanded to be called “che,” a title of respect.
“But the victim refused because she and the suspect are both 16 years old, and because Darina is a grade 10 student while Dalin is only a grade 8 student, saying, ‘Why would she call the suspect ‘che?’” the bureau chief said.
Later on Saturday, he said, Dalin sent a message to Darina asking her to meet on Street 60 in Siem Reap City’s Ampil commune to settle the matter peacefully. Wary of her schoolmate’s intentions, Darina agreed, but brought two friends with her.
“When the victim arrived at the scene, about 20 other gangsters on 10 motorbikes also arrived and welcomed them with helmets,” Mr. Choy said, explaining that the suspects—girls and women in their late teens and early 20s—removed their helmets and threw them at Darina and her friends, ages 16 and 17, before using them to beat Darina unconscious.
“The suspects used the helmets to beat the victim and badly injure her. The doctors found that she had broken her skull,” he said, adding that the friends only sustained minor injuries.
When military police arrived at the scene, “Sreynik’s Gang” fled on motorbikes, Mr. Choy said, adding the investigating officers apprehended five gang members at various locations around the city on Sunday—including Dalin and 20-year-old Tim Sreynik, the gang’s leader.
“There are not only five suspects. There were a lot of people involved in this case. We are seeking to arrest them,” he said.
Nhem Seila, a deputy provincial military police commander, said the five were charged with aggravated violence at the provincial court on Monday and sent to prison to await trial.