Two Fatalities Attributed to Provincial Police

A man was shot by a police officer in Kep municipality on Sunday, while police in Battambang prov­ince are investigating reports that a man there died after being beaten in police custody last week, police said Monday.

Kong Chean, Kep municipal police chief, said Sao Sina, 19, had been fighting at a dance in Damnak Chang’aur district when a police official apprehended him. Accord­ing to Kong Chean, the youth tried to grab the officer’s gun. Police officer Nheb Sokha fired a series of shots, several of which hit Sao Sina in the back. The shots were discharged in self-defense, Kong Chean said, adding that Sao Sina was being treated at the municipal hospital and Nheb Sokha was still at work.

“He is a gentle policeman,” he added.

Try Chhoun, municipal coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said Sao Sina had been involved in a play fight when police officials entered the fray, and subsequently shot the victim twice.

In Battambang’s Thmar Koul district, Chhen Sarat, a 20-year-old lo­cal Sam Rainsy Party supporter, died in a provincial hospital Thurs­day, several days after being arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

Police are investigating allegations by the victim’s family that he died following his Feb 6 arrest when four district police officials beat him, said Choup Pothirith, provincial police chief.

Sor Chandet, Sam Rainsy Party district coordinator, claimed that police beat Chhen Sarat with a stick, then handcuffed him and left him outside a local karaoke parlor while they went inside to sing. Chhen Sar­at took the opportunity to escape, but had already sustained fatal injuries, Sor Chandet said.

“It was very cruel,” said Sor Chandet, who claimed that the police officials were drunk at the time.

Choup Pothirith said the incident was not politically motivated.

“We’re conducting an investigation into the case. I cannot draw conclusions yet,” he said. “I will seek justice for the victim.”


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