A defence lawyer for the university professor who was severely beaten by an angry mob on Sunday after fleeing from multiple hit-and-run accidents has filed a lawsuit seeking $300,000 in compensation from the suspects.
The mob beating took place on Sunday afternoon at about 3pm in Tuol Kork district’s Toek La’ak II commune.
Kong Chantha, a traffic police officer with Phnom Penh municipal police, identified the victim as Suy Samreth, a professor at the University of Cambodia.
He said Mr Samreth was driving his car alone along National Road 5 in Russey Keo district on Sunday when he hit a motorbike and seriously injured its driver.
After the accident, Mr Samreth fled into the city. The professor proceeded to crash into two more motorbikes near Depo Market in Tuol Kork district.
Angry motorists, who saw the accident, drove their motorbikes in pursuit of Mr Samreth and finally stopped him near Preah Kossamak Hospital in Toek La’ak III commune.
They proceeded to severely beat Mr Samreth, who has now been hospitalised in Vietnam.
Chhy Sambath, Mr Samreth’s lawyer, submitted a lawsuit to the municipal court on Mnday, which was obtained yesterday.
In the lawsuit, Mr Sambath claims his client had a collision with a drunk man on a motorbike, after which people accused him of killing the driver.
“He was afraid that he would be beaten by crowd of people,” the claim said. “So he decided to flee.”
Mr Sambath said his client was flustered and as he fled slightly hit another motorist, whom he tried to help afterwards.
But an angry mob who was chasing him intervened and began beating him, he added.
“They wanted to kill him,” he said in the claim. “After beating him unconsciousness, they destroyed his vehicle.”
Mr Sambath added that some suspects also robbed his client of money and possessions, worth at least $3,000.
“To find justice for my client, I would like to ask for a full investigation and the arrest of those people to be punished by laws so that they cannot repeat such cruel acts against anyone else,” he said. “I would also like to demand a total of $300,000 from them in compensation for the injuries suffered and damaged caused to the vehicle.”
The Daun Penh district office yesterday issued a statement distancing itself from one of the suspected perpetrators, a former Daun Penh security officer named Pheach Kimhak.
“The Daun Penh administration does not support such violence and appeals to the competent authorities to arrest the perpetrator for legal punishment,” the statement said.
Phnom Penh police chief General Chuon Sovann said officers have not yet been able to arrest the main perpetrators of the beating, but are working on the case.