Probe said to implicate cops

By: Taing Vida

A large group of police officers have reportedly been identified in a military police investigation into the use of excessive force by authorities against a truck driver and his passenger who fled a checkpoint last month.

Six military police officers were charged earlier this month with intentional violence for their roles in the alleged attacks on truck driver Nen Sida, 30, and his nephew, Thoeun Neub, 20, after they failed to stop at a weigh station in Thbong Khmum province on March 19. Another six were implicated but not charged.

The incident saw officers fire multiple times on the vehicle, before pursuing it to Prey Veng province, severely beating Sida and Neub and hog-tying at least one of them. The use of force drew attention when photos of the alleged abuse appeared on Facebook.

An official on the National Military Police Task Force looking into the incident told the Post yesterday on condition of anonymity that 10 police officers – three from the Thbong Khmum checkpoint, two provincial police officers, three district police officers and one Prey Veng anti-economic crime officer – were implicated in the military police probe.

“These police were present at the scene and were part of the torture. Right now their units have taken no action against them,” the source said.

At a press conference on April 10, Lieutenant-General Sin Sophany, head of the National Military Police Task Force, made it clear that the military police did not have the jurisdiction to take action against officers not under its command, such as those at the checkpoint, who report to the government, and police officers.

Prey Veng police chief Sreng Chea admitted yesterday that an anti-economic crime officer under his command that was implicated in the March 19 incident was still “working as normal”, but pledged to send him to court if he is summonsed.

Both Thbong Khmum police chief Eang Phearak and Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Peng Sovicheanou said that only the court had the right to take legal action against errant officers.

Court officials could not be reached for comment.

Sida, the beaten truck driver, said he could vividly remember the faces of the police officers that beat him, and called for the court to charge them.