Injured Driver Tells of Brawl Between Police and Truckers

A day after an angry mob stormed the military police headquarters in Kratie province to recover two confiscated timber trucks, a hospitalized driver described how a brawl broke out between military police and truck drivers on the night the vehicles were seized.

Video uploaded to the Fresh News website on Wednesday showed dozens of men dragging the trucks from the military police headquarters in Kratie City after they were confiscated a day earlier when the drivers failed to produce proper wood licenses.

Thoat Sothy, 43, said he was driving in a convoy of 11 trucks carrying wooden stakes for the group’s pepper farms on Tuesday night when he was pulled over by around 10 military officers in Prek Prasap district’s Sorb commune.

A truck from the convoy then smashed into the back of his vehicle before a brawl broke out between the truck drivers and military police, he said.

“We saw a group of about 10 military police standing on National Road 7 and they stopped my truck and a second truck hit the back of my parked truck,” Mr. Sothy said.

He said he sustained injuries to his chest and hip while the other driver, Meas Nem, suffered back injuries.

Provincial military police chief San Bunthan said a complaint had been drawn up against the mob for damaging a military police car while retrieving the trucks on Wednesday, but that it had not yet been filed with the court, pending a decision from the military police’s upper echelons.

Following the crash, the military police officers pulled four drivers from their trucks and attempted to handcuff them, but more than 30 men jumped from their vehicles and attacked the officers and freed the drivers, Mr. Sothy said.

“Nine trucks drove away from the arrest,” he said, while the military police took the remaining two trucks to their headquarters.

Mr. Sothy said he had not yet decided whether to file a complaint with the provincial court against the military police over the incident.

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