Official: Police Can’t Arrest ‘Beer Girl’ Shooters Who Shot Beer Promoter Not Arrested

Phnom Penh’s top police official said on Sunday that he was un­able to arrest the RCAF soldiers involved in the recent shooting of a beer promotion worker as the officers were beyond the sco­pe of his authority.

Municipal Police Commis­sio­ner Touch Naruth also said that complaints were not lodged against the drunk Brigade 70 soldiers who shot a beer hostess in the foot because she had not fetched ice quickly fast enough.

“Both of them are RCAF soldiers. No victims’ complaints have been made against the two men yet,” Touch Naruth said.

Arresting the soldiers was the res­ponsibility of the military po­lice, he said, adding that police are also unable to make arrests if vic­tims do not complain.

Municipal Military Police Chief Ya Kim Y could not be reached Sun­day.

Sok Sam Oeun, executive dire­ctor of the legal aid NGO Cambo­dian Defenders Project, said Touch Naruth’s response wasn’t good enough.

“Police have an obligation to in­vestigate these cases. It is a crime and it is the responsibility of the state,” he said. “There is no need for a complaint from a victim. If a per­son is murdered, do police re­quire the dead person to register a complaint before they investigate?”

He said all labor laws apply to beer promotion girls and that failing to ensure workers’ rights could mean punishment for beer com­panies, which pay the promo­ters, as well as beer garden owners.

Beer promotion girls and kara­oke singers also called on police and other officials to investigate the crimes against their collea­gues.

A 23-year-old karaoke singer, who declined to be named, said al­­lowing the soldiers and police to walk free after paying compensation to their victims would only en­courage similar crimes.

“Compensation is not the way to solve this matter,” she said.

Also this weekend, Pursat prov­ince police on Saturday arrested five of seven men involved in beat­ing a beer promotion girl and the owner of a beer garden, said Doung Sokhonn, deputy police com­missioner of Pursat.

The woman had refused to con­tinue drinking with the men on Thursday, the owner had stepped in to defend her.

(Additional reporting by Pin Sisovann)


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