Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thursday that no status or sum of money could keep Sok Bun from facing prosecution for his assault of television personality Ek Socheata earlier this month, while a warrant was finally issued for the fugitive tycoon’s arrest, according to an official.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh, Mr. Hun Sen said that police officials found to be colluding to keep Mr. Bun safe—as was suggested by Interior Minister Sar Kheng—would also end up behind bars.
“I heard that somebody helped him. No matter how big they are, arrest the helper,” Mr. Hun Sen said.
The prime minister also urged Mr. Bun to turn himself in.
“I appeal to you: Please come immediately and don’t wait until they put you in handcuffs,” Mr. Hun Sen said.
“Come immediately, find a way to go to court. Looking at the video footage: It’s unthinkable violence committed against a weak woman,” he said of the minute-long attack on Ms. Socheata that was caught by security cameras at a restaurant in Phnom Penh on July 2.
“Don’t think that because you have money you can fix this,” he added.
Mr. Bun has said that he will return to Cambodia, but only when his own safety and a fair trial are guaranteed. Offers of up to $100,000 to settle the dispute out of court have been rejected by Ms. Socheata.
In a speech on Tuesday, Mr. Kheng said police officials had conspired to ensure that Mr. Bun remained a free man.
Sok Khemarin, the Interior Ministry official leading the investigation, has said that Mr. Bun fled to Singapore on July 7, the day before he was called to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning.
Major General Khemarin confirmed Thursday that an arrest warrant had been issued—two weeks after Ms. Socheata filed an attempted murder complaint.
“We received the arrest warrant at about 2 p.m. and we are working with Interpol on the case,” he said. “Now, he is overseas, but we don’t know in which country.”
Maj. Gen. Khemarin has consistently deflected questions about police interference.
Lim Chheangleng, assistant chief of Interpol’s Cambodia bureau, confirmed that the warrant had been forwarded to his office.
“We are now asking the secretary-general of Interpol to issue a red notice,” he said, which would make police forces across the globe aware of Mr. Bun’s fugitive status.
According to Ms. Socheata, and the security camera footage, the attack occurred after she intervened as Mr. Bun and his bodyguard attempted to drag an intoxicated woman out of the restaurant.
In an interview broadcast by PNN on Thursday, Ms. Socheata reiterated that no sum of money could silence her complaint, going on to recount the July 2 assault.
“It was the first time in my life I had met him, but the way he acted will make him difficult to forget,” she said.
“After this is resolved, I will go live overseas for some time to forget this bad dream.”