A military police officer and a retired Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldier are being detained at the Battambang provincial military police headquarters after beating a crowd of 11 scavengers for allegedly stealing a bra and pants from one of their wives, officials said on Sunday.
Lay Phanny, chief of police in Battambang City’s Svay Por commune, said the two men—whose names he said he did not know —were likely drunk when they attacked the group on Saturday afternoon.
“They started to beat everybody that they saw and they did not care whether they were old or young—they beat their hands, legs and back,” Mr. Phanny said, adding that a pregnant woman was beaten over the head and is recovering in a hospital.
“Some children were beaten, while some other lucky ones ran for their safety and did not get hurt,” he said.
Mr. Phanny said the military police officer had accused the group of scavengers, who live in a slum along railroad tracks behind his home, of stealing a bra and pants from a clothesline outside his house.
Ouk Kim, Svay Por commune chief, said the officer and retired soldier had been “educated” by their superiors and promised not to beat anyone in the future.
“They were educated not to do it again and the issue was resolved between them and the injured [by] promising they would not do it again,” Mr. Kim said.
However, Kheng Tito, spokesman for the military police, said the two men were still being detained at the provincial military police headquarters on Sunday and would be taken to provincial court today for questioning.
“The suspects will be taken to the court tomorrow,” Mr. Tito said, declining to give the names or ranks of the two men.