No Arrests Yet In Stabbings

Two Japanese men police say were hurt in a brawl with a gang led by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew Nhim Pov Saturday night have been flown to Bangkok for medical treatment.

The attack prompted Japan, the single largest donor to Cam­bodia, to call pointedly for better law enforcement.

“We have been asking Cambo­dian officials to improve security,” said Japanese Ambassador Goto Ogawa. “As usual, we will urge Japanese tourists and residents to be cautious and to protect themselves.”

Police continued to search for Nhim Pov and four other suspects Tuesday. “If we find them, we will arrest them,” said Chin Chanpour, military police chief.  “We don’t care if they are the sons of high-ranking officials.”

The fight erupted Saturday night when police say the five young men left the Manhattan’s night club at the Holiday hotel and ordered the three Japanese citizens to vacate a table at a nearby food stall.

When the men refused, two were stabbed in the stomach by broken beer bottles and seriously injured.

“After they hit the Japanese tourists, [the attackers] escaped,” said Sourn Chhengly, municipal police chief. “We have filed a complaint with the municipal court for a warrant for their arrests.”

Police said Hiroshi Katmatsu, 27, was stabbed four times and his liver was punctured, while Hiroshi Kozi, 41, was also seriously injured. The third man, whose name was not available, was less seriously injured.

Nhim Pov is the younger brother of Nhim Pisey, who was arrested in August 1999 for a shooting outside the same club. The brothers are the sons of Cambodia’s ambassador to Burma.

Police say the suspects form one of several violent gangs that operate with near impunity in Phnom Penh, due to their connections to government officials.

“Whenever this gang arrives, most customers run away,” one police official said. “This act is shame­ful for the family of high-ranking government officials.”

(Additional reporting by Yuko Maeda)





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