Victim’s Family Prefers Cash to Court Justice

The wife of a motorcycle taxi driver who was shot dead without reason by private security guards on a busy street in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district Monday at lunchtime has been paid $3,200 by the company employing the shooters, local human rights group Ad­hoc said Thursday.

Father of two Yem Phon, 31, was shot once in the chest and died in Stung Meanchey commune when a bullet fired at a truck by uniformed bodyguards, who were traveling on motorcycles, missed its mark and hit the innocent bystander.

The dead man’s wife was presented Tuesday with $3,200 “as compensation” by the Sony Con­struc­tion company, for whom the shooters are alleged to have been employed as bodyguards, Adhoc chief monitor Chan Soveth said Wednesday.

In turn, the woman, who does not intend to make a formal complaint in court over the slaying of her husband, now intends to move back to her home village in Takeo province, Chan Soveth said.

“She doesn’t want to file a complaint to the court because it will bring no luck to her. She has no be­lief in the courts,” Chan Soveth said, adding that paying cash in return for violently taking an innocent person’s life was an outrage.

Even the security guards of an ordinary construction company, said Chan Soveth, are now im­mune from the law, and can “use weapons and shoot to kill people by paying money.”

“It is a very serious violation of human rights. It is a criminal case, and it cannot be solved at all by paying compensation,” he added.

Meanchey district police chief Hy Narin said Wednesday that he had received reports of the killing, but the family of the victim had not made a report to police and he was aware that “they solved their problem face to face with the victim’s family.”

A report has been sent to the chief prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, he added.

Court officials, however, said Thursday that no report has been received at the courthouse.

“Until now we have not received any report at all from the Mean­chey district police,” said Prak Sa­vuth, head clerk for Chief Pro­se­cutor Ouk Savuth.

Attempts to contact the Sony construction company were unsuccessful Wednesday and Thursday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth on Thursday blamed the prosecutor’s office for being “slow to issue the arrest warrant for us.”

Touch Naruth confirmed that $3,200 was paid to the dead man’s wife by the Sony firm, and an additional $300 to the driver of the truck, whom the bodyguards were chasing and whom they had also badly beaten.

The money, the police chief added, “was [to express] the company’s sympathy, because the company did not order the bodyguards to shoot the victim.”

“This case is murder. The person who shot to kill the innocent victim can’t escape the law,” Touch Naruth added.

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