The mother of a 33-year-old man allegedly beaten by district military police in Ratanakkiri province filed a complaint with local rights group Adhoc yesterday, claiming that the Veun Sai district military police commander and two of his officers injured her son without just cause and demanded a bribe for his release from custody.
Dy Kim Sen was fixing his motorcycle in front of the district military headquarters on Sunday evening when Khen Muth, the commander, approached him and asked what he was doing, according to Mr Kim Sen’s mother, Khoan Makhon. Mr Sen did not look up to see who was speaking and answered the commander rudely, Ms Makhon explained. “But my son apologized several times when he recognized the military commander,” she said.
After Mr Kim Sen apologized, two military police officers overtook and beat him in front of their commander, Ms Makhon said. She said her son was then arrested and detained for allegedly driving drunk and crashing his motorcycle. Ms Makhon said she was asked to pay $50 in bribes for her son’s release.
“Those military police asked me to pay them [$50] or else they would send my son to the provincial prison, where I would be asked to pay between $200 and $300 in unofficial payment for his release,” she claimed, adding that her son was released yesterday after she promised to pay the police today.
General Tuy Sim, provincial military police commander, confirmed that he had ordered his district commander to detain the man for drunk driving, but said he did not demand any bribe.
“I just ordered a brief arrest for re-education, but I didn’t order them to beat up the man and to demand money for his release,” Mr Sim said, adding that he would look into the allegations because bribery is illegal.
Mr Muth and other district military police officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Adhoc provincial investigator Chhay Thy said that his organization plans to forward the victim’s complaint to the provincial court today.
“It doesn’t matter if the alleged victim was right or wrong. It is a crime to demand unofficial payment for his release,” Mr Thy said.