Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged a 39-year-old man over the torture of his six-year-old son after wrongly accusing him of stealing about $0.50.
The incident came to light when relatives and neighbours posted video of the abuse on Facebook.
Hin Sophanna of Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey 1 commune was charged with intentional acts of violence with aggravating circumstances and faces up to five years in jail if convicted.
Lieutenant General Pol Pithey, chief of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department with the Interior Ministry, said Mr Sophanna was arrested on Friday after video clips of him beating and torturing his son were posted by neighbours on Facebook.
Many people watched the video and criticised the content, he added.
Second Lieutenant Kong Sareth, a Stung Meanchey 1 commune police officer, said that according to a police report, the accused had four children, all boys, aged six to 15.
His wife was a fried banana vendor. All the sons helped the mother sell fried bananas to support the family and did not go to school.
Sec Lt Sareth said that on Wednesday morning last week, the six-year-old arrived home after selling fried bananas in his village. He had lost 2,500 riel, which had fallen through a hole in his pocket.
The money was later found and picked up by his aunt, Taing Thida, 30. She kept it for the victim.
“The father accused the son of stealing money,” Sec Lt Sareth said. “He then beat the son and tortured him to make him confess. He cruelly beat his son with a belt. He hung his son up by the legs and tortured him.”
“He forced the son to make a confession even though the son did not steal the money,” he added.
Mr Sareth said Mr Sophanna has been convicted twice before by Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
In 2012, he was jailed for four years for armed robbery and in 2016 he was convicted and jailed for another year for drug trafficking.
The accused has been jailed at Prey Sar prison pending his trial.