PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Following his testimony at municipal court Wednesday, the father of the TV presenter known to fans as Ms. Sasa told reporters that he would not accept compensation from his daughter’s attacker. Uth Thy said real estate tycoon Sok Bun had offered $100,000, but the family has refused to drop the charges against him.
Mr. Bun was caught on video savagely beating Ms. Sasa, whose real name is Ek Socheata, on July 2, in an attack that damaged her hearing in one ear and left her covered with bruises and lacerations. A week after the attack, video of it went viral on social media, leading to public outrage over this case and the prevalence of gender-based violence in Cambodia.
In an interview at the Municipal Court on Friday, Mr. Thy told local media he was unwilling to let this case vanish, like many others.
“If I took his money, people would have contempt for me and the government,” he said. “I can’t solve this problem by staying silent. I want to show other oknhas [an honorific for wealthy businessmen] that do the same as Mr. Sok Bun that Cambodia has the rule of law.”
Mr. Bun initially offered the family $40,000 following the attack, but after the footage went viral on social media, he upped the offer to $100,000 in a public letter signed by his lawyer. Ms. Socheata’s family has refused both offers.
After high-ranking politicians, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, began calling for Mr. Bun’s arrest, the court issued an arrest warrant and circulated it through Interpol. Mr. Bun was arrested last Saturday when his flight from Singapore landed in Phnom Penh. Police escorted him to municipal court, where he testified and was formally charged with aggravated assault by investigating judge Leang Samnath.
The tycoon is currently being held at Prey Sar prison, pending his trial. Both Interior Minister Khieu Sopheak and Ms. Socheata’s lawyer Put Theavy said they did not know when the trial would take place.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bun’s bodyguard remains at large and has not yet been identified. He can be seen in the video pointing a gun at Ms. Socheata’s head during the assault as she lies on the ground. She has claimed in interviews that he pulled the trigger, although the gun failed to fire.
Khieu Sopheak, Interior Ministry spokesman, said an arrest warrant has yet to be issued for the bodyguard.
(Additional reporting by Chea Takihiro)