PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Security camera footage filmed at a Japanese restaurant on Thursday, July 2, shows real estate tycoon Sok Bun savagely beating a famous TV host, Ek Socheata, known as Ms. Sasa. The video surfaced on Twitter and Facebook on July 9, leading to outrage and calls to arrest Bun. It has also given vent to frustration with the Cambodian justice system, which sometimes allows the rich and powerful to abuse women with impunity.
Sasa said this time is different: her family will not settle for a payout.
The leaked footage, filmed at Higashiyama restaurant in Tonle Bassac, shows Bun’s attempt to drag a visibly intoxicated woman – reportedly a Japanese friend of Sasa’s – from the sofa. Sasa throws her mobile phone at him, enraging the tycoon, who savagely beats her for more than a minute. Bun punches her, kicks her repeatedly in the head, and stomps on her as she lies on the ground. Bun’s bodyguard briefly points a handgun at her head as staff try to intervene.
A motodop driver who declined to be named was outside the restaurant on the night of the assault, and said the man who tried to come between Bun and Sasa was the Japanese restaurant manager. Neither the manager or the owner of the restaurant were willing to comment on the attack.
Ms. Socheata is being treated at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, providing updates about her condition on her Facebook page. Under a profile picture of her bloody right eye, Sasa commented, “What if I lose my eye? What will I do?”
In response to reports that her family had asked for compensation, she addressed a message to Bun himself in Khmer on her Facebook page: “My family has never asked you for any compensation, even millions of dollars,” she wrote. “You must be tried in court.”
The Municipal Court is responsible for issuing a warrant for Bun’s arrest, but could not be reached to confirm whether a warrant had been issued. Some posts on Sasa’s page allege that the real estate tycoon has fled to Singapore, but neither the Singaporean Warrant Office or the Office of Criminal Investigations could not be reached for comment between Friday and Sunday.
He may have eluded the law so far, but Sasa still hopes to see Bun brought to justice. When a friend posted a comment on her Facebook page about the government’s failure to prosecute powerful male abusers in the past, she responded. “Let’s see this time what they can do for me.”