The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday sentenced a man to one year in prison—with nine months suspended—for slapping a friend of his daughter at their high school in Phnom Penh after the two teenagers got into an argument and hair-pulling match in July.
Tep Khuon, 49, was arrested on July 1 and charged with intentional violence two days later after a video of him slapping Nhem Chanthida, 16, across the face at Chea Sim Boeung Keng Kang High School went viral on Facebook.
Presiding Judge Leang Samnath told the court Monday that after considering testimony from all parties, he had decided to convict Mr. Khuon but suspend most of his sentence and waive his fine.
“The court decides to sentence the accused Tep Khuon, 49, to one year in prison, but he will serve three months of the sentence and the rest of the sentence will be suspended, and he was fined 2 million riel [about $500], but this was suspended,” he said.
Following his arrest, Mr. Khuon told police that he was an official at the Council of Ministers, but later claimed that he was the director of an NGO called the Women’s Development Organization and was suffering from a mental illness.
During his trial last week, Mr. Khuon admitted to attacking Ms. Chanthida but said he did so only because he thought of her “like a daughter.” He said he only intended to reprimand his daughter’s friend, but lost his temper when the girl shouted at him.
Mr. Khuon remained silent throughout Monday’s proceedings and declined to answer a reporter’s questions as he was escorted from the courtroom.
His lawyer, Hak Sina, also declined to comment.