Party-Goers, Workers and Police Clash at Dance

A large scrum broke out at a party in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on Saturday night between revelers and workers from a nearby metalworks, with several people injured and police having to fire shots in the air to break up the skirmish.

Pou Phos, chief of Kraing Thnong commune’s Kraing Ang-Krong village, said residents and workers had been dancing to music blaring from loudspeakers under a canopy on the street when things got violent, possibly because someone stepped on someone else’s foot on the dance floor.

“Then there was lots of pushing and volunteer village security guards came to try and prevent people from fighting but workers started throwing bottles and rocks at them,” he said.

Three village security guards were badly injured after receiving blows to the head, he added.

With security guards unable to contain the situation, police were called, at which point workers became enraged and destroyed two police motorcycles, Mr. Phos added.

“Because police could not stop the violence without injuring people they fired warning shots into the air,” he said.

However, a lawyer for the metalworks, Metal Doors and Windows Enterprise, said police had actually fired shots into the roof of the business.

“Villagers and security were not the only ones injured, several workers were injured, too,” said Pek Vannak. “The workers are not the ones to blame. The fault lies with everyone.”

“We also condemn the police officers who shot at our company’s building. If they wanted to settle the dispute they should have shot into the air instead,” he said.

Mek Mey, commune police chief, confirmed two police motorcycles had been destroyed in the fracas. Police are collecting thumbprints from villagers who wish to file a complaint about the violence, while the metalworks company has yet to decide whether to sue for property damage.

Fights at Cambodian weddings and parties over bad dancing or women are not uncommon.

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