Lawyers for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew Hun To said Tuesday that their client is seeking damages of about $50,000 for supposedly defamatory accusations that he assaulted two SRP officials in July.
Nuon Vuthy, an outgoing SRP lawmaker for Kompong Cham, and unsuccessful SRP election candidate Uch Sereyyuth both lodged complaints against Hun To, accusing him of ordering his bodyguards to attack them on board the Prek Kdam ferry in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district July 19.
Fines for defamation are limited to a maximum of 10 million riel, or $2,500. However, Yin Wengka, an attorney for Hun To, said Tuesday that his client’s countersuit, filed Aug 25 in Kandal Provincial Court, sought $50,000 in damages.
“We want justice for my client,” he said, adding that the countersuit was filed only after Nuon Vuthy persisted in making his claims in court.
“They have disseminated false information that my client ordered his bodyguards to harm them,” Yin Wengka said.
Police said at the time they believed the dispute had first begun when the men vied for a position in the line of cars waiting to board the ferry.
Nuon Vuthy on Tuesday stood by his account, according to which bodyguards for Hun To had attacked him, tearing his shirt and taking his official National Assembly credentials.
“I saw him and heard him ordering his bodyguards to hit me,” Nuon Vuthy alleged by telephone. “It is funny,” he said. “Since the crime was committed in a public place, it is not difficult to conduct an investigation,” he added.
However, Nuon Vuthy added that he doubted the courts would dare to make a ruling that was unfavorable to a nephew of the prime minister.
Hun To could not be reached Tuesday but had denied the allegations at the time and said Nuon Vuthy had sought to provoke a confrontation.
Kandal Provincial Court Prosecutor Ouk Kimsith declined to comment on the case Tuesday.