Military officer charged over assault

Kampong Cham Provincial Court yesterday charged a Kratie provincial military police officer who allegedly threatened to shoot two men at an internet cafe on March 18.

Huot Vuthy, provincial court prosecutor, identified him as Major San Sokhom, 28, the son of the Kratie provincial military police commander.

“The court has charged Maj Sokhom with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances, threatening to use a weapon and illegal possession of a weapon,” he said. “The court decided to put him in pretrial detention.”

According to a warrant signed by Investigating Judge Nouv Yarath yesterday, Maj Sokhom allegedly committed the offence at an Internet Cafe in Kampong Cham province’s Kampong Cham city.

“The court thinks that temporary detention is necessary to prevent any pressure on witnesses and to guarantee attendance of the suspect in court and to maintain public order and the personal safety of the suspect,” the warrant said. “The court orders pretrial detention for San Sokhom at Kampong Cham provincial prison.”

On Saturday, two people filed a complaint against Maj Sokhom, claiming that he threatened and assaulted them as they were playing an online game at an Internet cafe.

According to the complaint, Maj Sokhom pulled 25-year-old Vann Chan Aktichakpanha and 28-year-old Ye Chenda from their seats, took them to his car and pointed his gun at them.

The two managed to escape, and ran back to the cafe, only to be followed and assaulted by Maj Sokhom.

After the incident, Maj Sokhom fled the scene and the Kampong Cham provincial court issued a summons for him on Sunday.

On Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered Brigadier General San Bunthan, Kratie military police commander and father of Maj Sokhom, to tell his son to turn himself in to the authorities.

“I send a message to [Brig Gen Bunthan] to urge his son to clarify what happened to the court,” Mr Hun Sen said. “If he loves his son so much, then he will lose his rank.”

Brig Gen Bunthan could not be reached for comment yesterday, but he said on Monday that he sent Maj Sokhom to the Kampong Cham provincial military police headquarters in the afternoon. He said that he is not proud of his son’s action, noting that footage of the incident has been posted on social media.

When asked about the incident at the Internet cafe, Brig Gen Bunthan said the victims were friends of Maj Sokhom’s younger brother and Maj Sokhom had asked the victims about pawning his younger brother’s cell phone and jewellry.