Two officers arrested for custodial death

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National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy. GRK

Two of the 12 Military Police officers who were being investigated following the August 7 death in custody of a man in Kampong Thom province have been arrested, with the victim’s family said to be preparing a $100,000 compensation claim.

The man died after being taken into custody at a coffee shop where alleged illegal gambling was taking place.

National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy identified the two officers are lieutenant colonels Sok Menghong and Luy Tangchuy, who is also chief of the Judicial Military Police Unit.

“They will be sent to court as per standard procedure. There will be an August 17 press conference at the Kampong Thom Provincial Gendarmerie Command,” he told the Post on August 16.

On August 7, the provincial gendarmerie conducted an operation with 13 officers led by the two suspects. They arrested four men and were transporting them to their base when the deceased, Suong Dorn, complained of shortness of breath. The officers drove him to Baray Santuk District Referral Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Dorn’s daughter Din Neardey aired her grievance in a recent gendarmerie social media post.

“He tried to find a shelter from the rain at the coffee shop when it was raided. The officers put their weight on his neck and he could not breath. When he asked to be taken to hospital, they did not believe he was unwell. This kind of heavy-handed law enforcement is unnecessary. This is terribly unfair for my family – he was an innocent man, loved and respected by the people of his village,” wrote Neardey.

Neardey told The Post that the news of the two officers’ arrests was the beginning of justice for her family. She remained filled with sadness at the loss of her beloved father, saying her mother had lost her wonderful husband.

“My mother, like her children, was dependent on my father.I think the family will file a claim for $100,000 from the perpetrators,” she added.