Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew Hun To on Monday denied accusations leveled by an SRP lawmaker that he had ordered his bodyguards to beat the opposition parliamentarian during a confrontation onboard a ferryboat Saturday.
Police in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district said the dispute appeared to have arisen from jostling in the line of cars waiting to board the Tonle Sap riverboat.
Nuon Vuthy, an SRP lawmaker campaigning in Kompong Cham province, said by telephone Monday that at 2 pm Saturday, bodyguards for Hun To had attacked him, tearing his shirt and stealing his parliamentary identification while they were onboard the Prek Kdam ferry.
Nuon Vuthy claimed that both men’s cars had a near collision after Hun To allegedly raced to drive off the ferry first as it landed on the river’s east bank.
“He ordered a few of his bodyguards to beat and kick me until my shirt was torn apart even though I told him I am a parliamentarian,” said Nuon Vuthy.
Nuon Vuthy said he had complained about the affair both to Ponhea Leu district police and to National Assembly President Heng Samrin, who could not be reached Monday.
Reached by telephone, Hun To said Monday that Nuon Vuthy was only trying to create controversy and had in fact been restrained, not by bodyguards, but by other passengers who thought he was reaching for a gun.
Nuon Vuthy had raced out of line to be first off the ferry as it landed, according to Hun To.
“I stopped my car and blamed him for not respecting the signal order from the ferry deckhands and for almost hitting my car’s rear end,” he said. “There was no beating.”
Representatives of the ferry could not be reached; however, district police chief Tim Savuth said preliminary findings indicated the dispute had begun as the men tried to board the ferry.
“Initially, we found that it was to do with each party having tried to get onto the ferry first,” he said, adding that provincial police were now handling the matter. Provincial police officials could not be reached.