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Jailed military official freed on bail

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Brigadier General Pech Tongheng. National Police

A high-ranking military official jailed for beating a 21-year-old garbage collector for looking at him was yesterday released on bail after spending a month behind bars.

Brigadier General Pech Tongheng, 41, a military official with the Defence Ministry, was arrested on April 27 after beating garbage collector Saing Tola a few days earlier in Boeng Keng Kang III commune in front of his condo.

Major Sok Sengly, a prison police officer, said the accused was released yesterday after paying $4,000 in compensation to the victim, who then withdrew his complaint.

“He was released after the victim withdrew his complaint after he has paid $4,000 in compensation,” he said, noting that the accused was facing charges of intentional acts of violence under non-aggravating circumstances.

A Phnom Penh Municipal Court clerk, who asked not to be named, confirmed the accused was released on bail after Investigating Judge Pich Vicheathor finished his investigation.

The clerk noted that despite the victim withdrawing his complaint, the charges remain against the accused, who faces a prison term of two to five years if convicted.

The clerk said the accused has been put under court supervision and will be summoned for his trial in the coming months.

Bun Kosal, a Boeng Keng Kang III commune police officer, said the accused arrived at his condo in his SUV on April 24 and left it running loudly.

While idling, the victim was scavenging for garbage nearby on the street and looked at the accused, who became furious that the garbage collector was seemingly looking at him over the loud sound of his engine.

“He was angry at the victim for looking at him. He stepped out from his SUV and took a pistol from his waist and struck the victim’s head,” he said. “After beating the victim, he parked his vehicle within the condo gates and shut the gate.”

Mr Kosal said the victim was rescued by local police who took him to hospital, after which he filed a complaint against the accused.

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