Mob victim recounts brutal beating

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The professor in Vietnam recovering from the mob attack. Swift News

The 52-year-old professor who was brutally beaten in a mob attack after an alleged hit-and-run in Phnom Penh last week remains in hospital in Vietnam, where he has detailed his version of events in a video posted to Facebook.

Suy Sareth, a professor at the University of Cambodia, was beaten by a mob on March 11 in Tuol Kork district’s Toek La’ak II commune. The mob also destroyed his SUV.

He can now talk, but is still in hospital for further treatment.

In a video posted on Facebook, he said the suspects beat him and caused serious injuries to his head and jaw, breaking 10 teeth.

Mr Sareth also denied hitting any motorists and then fleeing to avoid responsibility.

He said that on March 11, he was driving his SUV from the Tuol Sangke pagoda towards Russey Keo district in Phnom Penh to pick up his wife from a wedding ceremony.

While he was driving on National Road 5, a taxi driving ahead of him slightly hit another car in front of it. He stopped his SUV but two drunken men driving a motorbike behind him hit his SUV and fell.

A group of about five or six youths then followed him on three motorbikes, shouting loudly and accusing him of hitting motorists, while also inciting others to beat him, he said.

“When the drunken men fell off the motorbike near the wheels of my car, a group of youths said I was Chinese. They shouted and accused me of hitting them,” he said.

“They reached into my car and beat me. They took their helmets and beat my head, causing bloody injuries.”

He said that to escape from the beating, he drove away to seek intervention from police, who he could not find. He then tried to drive to his house.

But due to his injuries and blurred vision from the beating, he hit a motorist in Tuol Kork district.

He was then caught by the youths who had been following him, who began beating him again and knocked him unconscious.

“They were very cruel. They beat me without listening to my pleading or explaining,” Mr Sareth said.

However, following the incident last week, police reported that Mr Sareth had been driving along National Road 5 in Russey Keo district when he hit a motorbike and seriously injured its driver.

He then fled into the city where he proceeded to crash into two more motorbikes near Depo market in Tuol Kork district, police said.

Angry motorists, who saw the accident, then drove their motorbikes in pursuit of Mr Sareth and finally stopped him near Preah Kossamak Hospital in Toek La’ak III commune where they beat him and destroyed his SUV.

Colonel Bun Satya, chief of the criminal investigation department in Phnom Penh, said that so far, only three suspects have been arrested and charged by the court for their involvement in Mr Samreth’s beating.

“Until now, we have arrested three of 10 suspects. They were all charged by the court’s prosecutor with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and damaging another person’s property with aggravating circumstances,” he said. “The investigating judge has already sent the three suspects to prison pending their trial.”

Col Satya added that police are seeking to arrest the other suspects.

Mr Samreth’s defence lawyer Chhy Sambath has also filed a criminal lawsuit against the suspects to Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Mr Sambath demanded about $300,000 in compensation from the suspects.

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