A military police officer moonlighting as the chief of security at a Sihanoukville construction site paid out $500 this week to settle a dispute involving the assault of a laborer, according to rights group Licadho.
A complaint filed with Licadho accuses six military police officers of attacking Koeun Sarin, 28, at the Borey Kuch Asia apartment complex in the seaside city’s Bei commune on Sunday evening following disputes between workers and security guards, the organization’s provincial coordinator, Boun Narith, said on Tuesday.
“The wife of the victim filed the complaint to seek justice for her husband, who was injured by military police and security guards,” Mr. Narith said.
Mr. Narith said the complaint was filed on Monday morning and withdrawn in the evening after the security chief—whose name he said he did not know—paid Mr. Sarin $500 in compensation for his injuries and medical fees.
The dispute started on Sunday evening when a security guard at the Borey Kuch Asia site asked a group of construction workers drinking there to get off the grass, Mr. Narith said. Feeling insulted, the workers attacked and injured the guard, who then reported the incident to the chief of security, a military police officer, he said.
Mr. Narith reported the following sequence of events: About 20 minutes after the guard was injured, the security chief, seeking to arrest the workers, mistook Mr. Sarin for one of the suspected offenders. Mr. Sarin ran from the security chief, who was shouting and holding a handgun. The supervisor pointed the pistol at Mr. Sarin and they struggled over the weapon. When military police officers arrived to quell the confrontation, one of them hit Mr. Sarin in the head with the butt of an AK-47 assault rifle. Mr. Sarin later received medical treatment at a private clinic.
Sihanoukville police chief Phol Phorsda said on Tuesday that his officers did not receive a complaint from Mr. Sarin, and that he did not know the security chief’s name.
Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said there were no laws preventing military police from working second jobs as private security guards, but that it was illegal for them to carry government-issued firearms while working for a private company.
“Government forces are not allowed to bring weapons to work at their second jobs because military weapons are tightly regulated,” he said.
According to Licadho, the security chief is employed by Preah Khan Reach Security Cambodia. A representative of the company could not be reached on Wednesday.
kimsay@cambodiadaily.com
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