Two rival groups of tuk-tuk drivers clashed Monday evening in front of Phnom Penh’s railway station in Daun Penh district, beating each other with metal pipes and chains over a dispute regarding passengers, police said Tuesday.
At about 6 p.m., a tuk-tuk driver and member of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) got into an argument with another tuk-tuk driver and member of the Cambodia for Confederation Development Association (CCDA), according to Kan Vannak, police chief in Srah Chak commune, where the fight occurred.
Mr. Vannak said the initial argument was over three passengers looking for a ride to Toek Thla commune after disembarking from a minibus, a fare that both tuk-tuk drivers claimed was theirs.
The three passengers decided to get a lift with the CCDA member, and when he returned to the train station at about 7 p.m., a brawl broke out, Mr. Vannak said.
“It’s hard to say who attacked first and from which association,” the police chief said. “When we arrived, we found some steel pipe and metal files. If anyone files a complaint, then I will investigate and look to make arrests.”
Mr. Vannak said nobody was seriously injured in the scuffle.
Soun Vanny, 41, identified himself Tuesday outside the train station as the IDEA member who was fighting for the fare Monday.
“I talked and agreed with the [three] passengers on 20,000 riel [about $5],” he said. “But [the CCDA member] tried to take my passengers by dropping the price to 15,000 riel [about $3.75].”
Mr. Vanny said that upon returning to the train station, the CCDA member began yelling at him. When dozens of CCDA members surrounded him, Mr. Vanny said, he called for other members of IDEA to back him up.
“[The CCDA members] took steel pipes and attacked us,” he said. “So I took a chain from my tuk-tuk to hit them back.”
Sok Veasna, 41, who identified himself as the CCDA member who transported the passengers, was waiting by his tuk-tuk less than a block away from Mr. Vanny on Tuesday. Mr. Veasna said he was the victim of the attack.
“I was waiting far away to pick up goods and happened upon the passengers,” he said. “The passengers asked me go to Toek Thla for 15,000 riel and I agreed, but the [IDEA member] told them that I am not a good person and not to go with me.”
Mr. Veasna said once he returned, IDEA members followed him around the parking lot in front of the train station.
“We asked why [the IDEA members] wanted to attack us, but they said rude words to us and then they just took steel pipes and metal files and attacked us,” he said.