Police Probe Alleged Violence in Sihanoukville

Police in Sihanoukville are investigating the alleged beating of a Moldovan expatriate by three men involved in a violent attack at the Queenco Hotel & Casino last year.

Officials said, however, that the victim’s account of the incident might be an attempt to reignite tensions among foreign factions in the coastal city.

Maxim Godorgia, a 29-year-old sales manager for Lotus Tours—whose manager was targeted in the casino attack—said he was riding his motorcycle toward the Independence Hotel at about 7:30 p.m. on Thursday when three Russian men stopped him outside the Oceania kindergarten.

Mr. Godorgia, a dual Moldovan-Russian citizen, said the men demanded the contents of a bag he was carrying at the time, and hit him in the head and neck when he refused to hand it over.

The Oceania kindergarten, along with an affiliated hotel and biker-themed bar, was once run by Oleg Tikhanov, a Russian businessman wanted in his home country for possession of weapons and explosives as part of a criminal syndicate, according to Interpol. His whereabouts are unknown.

Mr. Godorgia said his attackers were associates of Mr. Tikhanov, who has been identified by police as the mastermind of the casino attack.

“These people are very dangerous and have attacked our company at Queenco hotel one year ago,” Mr. Godorgia said on Monday.

“They come many times before to my office asking from me money for protection. I have given them some money before.”

Mr. Godorgia said he filed a complaint against the men with provincial police on Monday.

Provincial police chief Chuon Narin said he had received the complaint and ordered his deputy, Kol Phally, to investigate.

He noted, however, that Mr. Godorgia was a familiar face at the provincial police headquarters.

“A few times, the same victim has complained to us about the same suspects, but the victim never showed us his injuries or places where he was attacked,” said Major General Narin, who took over as provincial police chief in April after a spike in violent crime in Sihanoukville.

“We have identified those involved in this dispute and I want to say to the victim: Please don’t create a problem to put on other people,” he said, declining to name the alleged attackers.

“Now that I’m working here, I promise that I will not let Sihanoukville be the same as in 2014,” he added.

Thursday’s alleged attack follows a period of calm in Sihanoukville following a series of shootings, stabbings and other attacks perpetrated by foreigners there in late 2014 and early 2015.

In February last year, at least two men were injured in a fight that broke out between two groups of Eastern European men after one side demanded a portion of profits from a planned electronic music festival. Lotus Tours, Mr. Godorgia’s employer, was handling ticket sales for the event, which was ultimately canceled by authorities.

Four men were arrested over the incident, two of whom were linked to Mr. Tikhanov by police.

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