Unable to find a compromise in a Kandal province fishing dispute involving a police officer which led to the beating of a commune official and his son, police have turned the matter over to provincial courts.
Ponhea Leu district Police Chief Toem Savuth last week handed the dispute between military police officer So Van Thoeun and Sam Rainsy Party deputy commune Chief Mao Sunny over to the courts because an agreement couldn’t be worked out, the chief said.
District police cannot arrest So Van Thoeun, even though they believe he beat Mao Sunny and his son, Mao Sinath, because So Van Thoeun is a military police official and therefore beyond their reach, Toem Savuth said.
“We can’t do anything because the perpetrator has commanders as well. Only the court can make a decision,” Toem Savuth said.
Outraged by the deadlock, Mao Sunny has sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to arrest So Van Thoeun and fire Toem Savuth, the commune official said.
The dispute between the two men began when the newly elected Mao Sunny vowed to crack down on illegal fishing lots in the commune. When So Van Thoeun refused to arrest lawbreakers, Mao Sunny claims, villagers took matters into their own hands and destroyed the illegal lots. Both Mao Sunny and Mao Sinath say they were later beaten for their efforts to combat illegal fishing.
Toem Savuth denied helping his colleague and said finding an agreement remains the best solution. “I do not ignore this issue. But both sides have refused to compromise and have asked me to send this case to court.”