Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged a military officer who pistol-whipped a meatball vendor who was seeking compensation from his friend after a traffic accident in Sen Sok district.
Ly Sokha, a court clerk, identified the accused as Lieutenant Colonel Nuon Po, 49, who works with the Defence Ministry.
He was charged with intentional acts of violence with aggravating circumstances and faces up to five years in jail if convicted. Mr Sokha said that the accused was arrested on Thursday night after assaulting meatball vendor Yem Vannak, 27, from the district’s Kork Khleang commune.
Captain Sok Hour, the district’s deputy criminal investigation police chief, said that at about 7.30pm on Thursday, the accused’s friend Sao Chanthy, 46, was driving his luxury car in the commune’s Kork Khleang village when he hit Mr Vannak’s cart while he was frying meatballs.
He said that the impact caused the frying oil to spill on the victim, who suffered burns on his hands and legs. Cap Hour said that after hitting the cart, Mr Chanthy, a high school teacher, fled the scene.
He said that Mr Vannak chased after him on his motorbike and stopped in front of Mr Chanthy’s car along a road in Phnom Penh Thmey commune.
He added that the victim told Mr Chanthy to get out of the car and demanded compensation for his injuries and the damage to his cart.
Cap Hour said that Mr Chanthy did not get out, but instead phoned Lt Col Po, who drove to the scene to help his friend.
“The accused was angry with the victim for stopping and blocking his friend’s car,” he said. “He took out a pistol and pointed it at the victim, threatening to kill him.”
“He then pistol-whipped Mr Vannak several times, causing head injuries,” he added.
Cap Hour said that policemen on patrol nearby saw the attack and arrested the accused. Police seized the pistol and five bullets from him and took all three parties in for questioning.
He added that they released Mr Chanthy at around midnight on Thursday after he paid compensation to Mr Vannak.
Lt Col Po is now in prison pending his trial.