Police Accused of Attacking Drivers in B’bang

Two men have filed a complaint with authorities claiming that more than 10 police officers attacked them over the course of five hours in detention after they were stopped for driving without helmets in Battambang province on Saturday.

Prak Tola, 24, and Soth Ravy, 23, said they were en route to a friend’s birthday party in Battambang City on Mr. Ravy’s motorbike when they were stopped by two police officers for not wearing helmets and having a broken mirror at about 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.

The two men claim police demanded a bribe of 7,000 riel, or about $1.75, but they only had 2,000 riel between them, drawing the ire of the officers.

“[The police] tried to open the [moto] seat and we told them not to put drugs in there and then accuse us,” Mr. Tola said Wednesday.

Mr. Tola said he was then punched in the face by one of the police officers before both were taken to the provincial police station where they came under a sustained attack by a group of officers.

“Police tied our hands when we arrived in police custody, then turned off the lights and about 10 police officers attacked us,” he said, adding that he passed out during the attack before being released.

Mr. Tola said the police officers claimed he and Mr. Ravy became violent when they were stopped, something they both deny.

The two men filed a complaint at the provincial court on Tuesday after seeking the help of local rights group Adhoc, according to Yin Mengly, Adhoc’s Battambang provincial coordinator.

“This is a serious violation of their human rights including torture—these were serious crimes committed by the police officers,” Mr. Mengly said.

Provincial traffic police chief Sath Kimsan said he was unaware of the case but will investigate the claims. “There haven’t been any complaints filed against our police officers yet but police officers have the right to arrest and detain people if they fight us back,” said Mr. Kimsan.

The provincial court could not be reached for comment.

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