Tycoon Jailed For Assault After Arrest at Airport

Real-estate tycoon Sok Bun was imprisoned on charges of intentional violence on Saturday over the savage assault of a female television personality earlier this month, footage of which went viral on social media days after the attack.

Mr. Bun, who was arrested upon arriving at Phnom Penh International Airport on a flight from Singapore on Saturday morning, was charged at about 1 p.m., said Investigating Judge Leang Samnath.

“I charged him with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances,” he said.

If convicted, Mr. Bun faces up to five years in prison and a fine of 10 million riel, or about $2,500.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that after the court charged Mr. Bun, he was sent to Prey Sar prison to await trial.

On July 7, security camera footage emerged showing Mr. Bun punching, kicking and stomping on Ek Socheata, an entertainer better known as Sasa, at a restaurant on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich island on July 2.

Ms. Socheata has said that the assault took place after she attempted to stop Mr. Bun and his bodyguard from leaving with the female Japanese owner of the restaurant, who had fallen asleep on a couch after drinking with the two men.

According to the Interior Ministry, Mr. Bun fled to Singapore on July 7, the day before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court summoned him for questioning. Mr. Bun then flew from Singapore to Paris on Tuesday, according to Cambodia’s Interpol office.

In a speech on Thursday, Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed to Mr. Bun—who last week relinquished his royally bestowed title of “oknha” and offered Ms. Socheata $100,000 in compensation—to turn himself in.

“Looking at the video footage: It’s unthinkable violence committed against a weak woman,” the prime minister said at the time. “Don’t think that because you have money you can fix this.”

General Sopheak said Sunday that Mr. Bun was not arrested in Paris, and returned to Cambodia voluntarily after his family told him about Mr. Hun Sen’s speech.

“After the prime minister appealed for him to report, his family told him to come back,” he said. “After getting information from his family, we went to pick him up at the airport and sent him straight to the court on Saturday morning.”

Gen. Sopheak said that Mr. Bun’s bodyguard—whom he refused to identify and who can be seen in the security camera footage brandishing a pistol and briefly pointing it at Ms. Socheata’s head—was still at large.

“Now we are waiting for the arrest warrant from the court, and I believe he will not get far,” he said, adding that he did not know whether the man was still in the country.

Contacted Sunday, Ms. Socheata reiterated that she would not settle out of court with Mr. Bun, regardless of how much money he offered.

“I still demand legal action against him, and I will not make any compromises outside of court,” she said. “I have stepped forward already, so I will not turn back.”

(Additional reporting by Chris Mueller)

[email protected]

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.