Red Cross Donates $35K to Injured Security Guards

The Cambodia Red Cross donated a total of 140 million riel, or about $35,000, to 37 security guards that were injured after being beaten on Tuesday by opposition protesters demanding the opening of Freedom Park, officials said Wednesday.

Kim Vutha, chief of the Daun Penh district security force, said that three critically injured guards each received 10 million riel, about $2,500, while 19 seriously injured guards each received 5 million riel, or about $1,250. Fifteen slightly injured guards received 1 million riel, about $250, apiece.

“They are fine now,” he said of the injured guards.

Tuesday’s clash saw opposition protesters turn the table on the notoriously violent guards, who have repeatedly beaten CNRP protesters over the past six months.

But unlike previous clashes, the role reversal piqued the sympathy of the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC).

The donations were the first time the CRC, a relief organization headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife Bun Rany, has sent funds to those injured during clashes following last year’s disputed election.

Uy Sam Ath, director of the CRC’s disaster management unit, declined to comment on the donations or their political implications.

CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha said at a press conference Wednesday that the donations were evidence of the organization’s bias.

“The worst thing is the CRC—they went to help one side only,” he said. “CRC is meant to help whoever faces accidents.”

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor at rights group Licadho, said he dare not give his opinion about the donations from the CRC. “But its role and objective is to rescue people from difficulties without political bias.”

The guards also received donations from district and municipal officials. City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said that Governor Pa Socheatevong donated about $125 to each of the 22 more seriously injured guards.

Daun Penh district governor Kuoch Chamroeun said donations had poured in today.

“I don’t know about the exact number because there are a lot of generous people.”

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