Kandal provincial police say they are seeking three district police officers allegedly involved in the beating of two men, one of whom died of his injuries, but that the officers have apparently gone into hiding.
Tith Leap, 22, and his brother-in-law Chamroeun Seyha, 26, were beaten by police officers—first along National Road 21 and later, and more severely, at the Sa’ang district police station—on Friday after they were arrested over a traffic dispute, Mr. Leap said on Monday. Chamroeun Seyha died on Saturday morning in a Takhmao City hospital.
Provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun said on Wednesday that both police officers and local residents were responsible for the roadside beating.
“At the scene, the people and police beat them,” Mr. Chamroeun said by telephone on Wednesday. He did not comment when asked whether police had also beaten the men while they were in custody.
Police had initially stated that a mob of villagers in Prek Koy commune had beaten the two men, suspecting them of attempting to rob district immigration police chief Chhay Sina of his motorbike, and that police at the scene had saved the men by intervening and bringing them to the district police headquarters.
On Monday, however, local residents said while a crowd of about 50 people did gather while the verbal altercation turned violent, they did not take part in a beating that was delivered by Mr. Sina and other officers. They also said the men emerged from the district police station in far worse condition than when they entered.
Mr. Sina, deputy district police chief Pheakdey Vitou and deputy district technical police chief Kheang Song Theng are now being sought for questioning in relation to the incident, but have not shown up for work since Saturday, officials said.
“If they do not go speak with police, I will issue a summons to order them to go in for questioning,” Kandal provincial prosecutor Lim Sokuntha said on Wednesday.
(Additional reporting by Matt Surrusco)