Lawyer Says Police Watched Gang Beat Him

Lawyer Pheng Sideth is filing a complaint against Chamkar Mon district police who he says did nothing as a group of eight known gangsters beat him early Friday morning.

“Phnom Penh is the city of the senior officials’ sons. They can do everything here. They can commit a crime, and nobody can stop them,” he said Friday.

Pheng Sideth, a member of the Cambodian Bar Association, said he was traveling home on Moni­vong Boulevard near Sihanouk Boulevard when a Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Camry began to follow him.

One car pulled close and a man pointed a gun at him through the window, Pheng Sideth said. He said he sped to Chamkar Mon district police headquarters and ran inside. The cars followed, and a group of eight men in their early 20s entered the station and beat Pheng Sideth as police stood by.

They yelled: “Police know us here,” he said.

After an officer pulled Pheng Sideth to safety in an adjoining room, the men went out to the parking lot and banged on his car. When they re­turned, one man slapped him in the face, again, as Dep­uty Police Chief Hy Narin watched, the lawyer said.

When Pheng Sideth tried to go home, police said Pheng Sideth had been very “aggressive.” Po­lice pointed a gun at him, slapped him and made him stay. Pheng Sideth only then disclosed he is a lawyer.

Hy Narin said Monday he was on duty the night of the alleged incident but was not in charge of the case. “It is his right to say that, but if police did not protect him, he would not have survived to this hour,” Hy Narin said.

Chamkar Mon Deputy District Chief Tiep Kum said police were searching for the attackers, who are known for previous offenses.

“This group is usually doing things like this,” Tiep Kum said.

The Bar Association is drafting a letter asking National Police Director General Hok Lundy to in­vestigate the incident and police conduct, said Bar President Ky Tech. He said he stood by Pheng Sideth’s story.

“If police can do this to a lawyer, for the common people it must be the worse,” Ky Tech said.


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