Military police and Poipet City police were involved in a confrontation on Wednesday over the local collection of funds for Koh Pich stampede victims, officials said yesterday.
Horm Mut, Poipet City military police commander, said his forces stopped Poipet commune chief San Seanhor and his subordinates from collecting money but were then confronted by city police summoned by Mr Seanhor.
“About 20 military police and police officials clashed shortly in a confrontation over fundraising,” he said.
Mr Mut said his officers responded to reports of someone purporting to collect money for victims and that military police decided to investigate the situation.
“We just went to the place to ask them what they were doing. We were concerned someone disguised themselves to cheat people,” he said.
When city police arrived, they argued about whether the fund-raising was legitimate, he said.
After a discussion, both sides decided to give the money directly to CTN television representatives who are holding a telethon to help the victims, he said.
Mr Seanhor said he had been cooperating with CTN Wednesday and called city police when military police threatened him with arrest.
“Around five or six military police came to threaten to arrest the committee soliciting money to help victims,” he said.
In total, he said, his committee collected more than $6,700 in Cambodian, Thai and US currency for victims.
Mr Mut denied threatening anyone with arrest.
Um Sophal, the Poipet City police chief, downplayed any discussions between police and military police.
“We went there to calm down the situation, there was no clash,” he said.
Lay Ly, a CTN correspondent confirmed that he received the donation. “I have received the funds raised and I broadcasted that this morning,” he said, declining to comment further.
Kong Phal, a 40-year-old villager, witnessed the confrontation. “I am very disappointed when I saw authorities, police and military police clash with each other as it seemed there was fraud in money given to them to help victims.”