Police Dispute Stabbing Claim

A Phnom Penh University student claimed he was stabbed Thursday by six Vietnamese men near Wat Chak Angre Leu, but local authorities disputed his story, saying the victim cut himself.

Cheng Soriya said he was cut in the neck and head around 9:15 am by six Vietnamese men who were angry after he told them not to park their boat behind Wat Chak Angre Leu, where more than 100 Vietnamese families had been staying until a court order forced them to leave this week.

“I went to that place alone because I did not want to disturb anyone and cause any problems,” Cheng Soriya said.

But Kao Savoeun, chief of Chak Angre Leu commune, said after investigating, authorities concluded that Cheng Soriya cut himself to blame the Vietnamese.

The pagoda had been the scene of rising tension between the Vietnamese living at the pagoda and the monks. Kim Say, chief monk at the pagoda, had threatened to set himself on fire if the Vietnamese did not leave.

Nearly half of the families left by Tuesday’s deadline, and the remaining Vietnamese said they would stay only a few days until they found new homes. A Su­preme Court ruling in January ordered the Vietnamese to find new homes.

Cheng Soriya’s report to the police did not match witness accounts, Kao Savoeun said. He said witnesses saw Cheng Soriya come out of a bathroom in Chak Angre School, located in the pagoda complex, with a knife with blood on it.

Authorities found two drops of blood on the toilet. A knife was found about 10 meters from the toilet, Kao Savoeun said.

A teacher who saw Cheng Soriya come out of the bathroom said the student remained calm until he reached the main road, when he started shouting that Vietnamese had stabbed him.

A few members of the Stu­dents for Democracy Move­ment, which is known for its anti-Viet­namese rhetoric, showed up at the pagoda shortly after Cheng Soriya, who said he was not a member, was hurt. The members said they were there to help a fellow student.

Police said they did not expect any charges to be filed against Cheng Soriya.

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