US Man Released After Hitting Beggar Girl

A US national spent Monday night in police custody after a squatter family accused him of hit­ting and injuring their 7-year-old daughter with his dog’s leash earlier that day.

Samuel Fleming, 64, is accused of having lashed Yan Chor over the head after she asked him for money in the park across from the National Assembly. The blow caused a gash that required three stitches, the girl’s family and foreigner police chief Pol Pithey said Tuesday.

Wearing an orange bandage on her head at Phnom Penh Mu­nicipal Court Tuesday, Yan Chor said that she approached Flem­ing the day before saying, “Papa, money please.”

“I sat near him and he hit me and blood came out,” she said.

Yan Chor lives under the park’s banyan tree with her five siblings and two parents, her father Em Yea said.

Fleming showed a reporter a red fabric leash at the court Tues­day and said he was not sure how Yan Chor sustained the cut.

The metal clasp on one end of the leash was attached to his dog when he “popped” her on the head with the soft end, he said.

Fleming said he had lived in Cambodia for 12 years and on Monday became fed up with people pestering him for money.

“I lost my cool,” he said.

But, he added, he saw no blood or tears immediately after hitting the child with the leash.

He said the girl had retreated quietly to her family, who re­turned soon thereafter demanding $200. “When she came back she was hysterically screaming,” Fleming said, adding that he had tried but was not permitted to take the girl to a nearby clinic at the Hong Kong Center.

“In the worst case scenario, the father injured her to get money from me,” he said.

Municipal Court Chief Prose­cutor Ouk Savuth said Tuesday afternoon that the case would be re­solved with payment of compensation, because the injury was small and Fleming likely had learned his lesson. Yan Chor’s father said he was asking Flem­ing for $350. Fleming was re­leased Tuesday but is expected to return to court today.

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