Parents to Sue Official for Throwing Wood at Child’s Face

The parents of a 4-year-old girl who was hit in the face by a block of wood thrown at her by a deputy governor of Battambang City on Friday will file a lawsuit against the official at the provincial court today, according to a rights worker.

Already agitated by his wife’s heavy drinking, the deputy governor, Dy Pov, hurled the chunk of wood at Nil Long Er while she was playing outside his house in O’Char commune’s Ang village, acting village chief Phal Phor said on Monday. The wood struck the girl in the left cheek, resulting in minor injuries, he said.

While the village chief said the girl’s family agreed not to file a complaint against Mr. Pov in exchange for $25 in cash and a package of foodstuffs, commune police chief Phan Sovannarith said no such negotiation took place and that a visit to the family by local officials on Sunday was a random act of charity on behalf of the Cambodian Red Cross.

On Tuesday, Heng Sayhong, provincial monitor for rights group Adhoc, said both accounts were false. He said the girl’s parents, both construction workers, filed a complaint with military police on Sunday, but that the father, Em Nil, 43, withdrew it when Mr. Pov gave him $150 in compensation.

When Mr. Nil told his wife, Ieng Mom, 38, what he had done, she scolded him and convinced him to proceed with a legal complaint, Mr. Sayhong said.

“They came to my office at about 3:30 this afternoon and told me that they couldn’t accept $150 in compensation because their daughter’s ear is still injured and bleeding, and they need more money to cure it and want the court to find justice for them,” he said.

“Now I am preparing a lawsuit for them and will ask them to thumbprint it and submit it to the provincial court,” he said, adding that the poor couple had no intention of returning the $150.

While admonishing Mr. Pov for throwing a piece of wood at a child’s face, Battambang provincial governor Chan Sophal said the official would not be fired for the offense.

“It was just an ethical mistake, so we have to educate him first and give him another chance,” Mr. Sophal said. “However, he will need to sign a written agreement to not do such a thing again.”

Battambang City governor Sieng Em Wounzy described his deputy as “bad tempered” but also said the official would be given a second chance.

“It’s not like someone makes a mistake and we have to fire them immediately. We should provide him or her with a chance to make it right,” he said, adding that he had prepared a detailed report about the case and would send it to Mr. Sophal soon.

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