Military Police Deny Their Bullets Killed Five Protesters
By | January 7, 2014

A spokesman for the military police said Monday that there would be no investigation into the killing of five stone-throwing protesters and the wounding of more than 20 on Friday in Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, and that the military police had behaved “ethically” when they opened fire.

Brigadier General Kheng Tito said military police—who were witnessed firing AK-47 assault rifles and killing and wounding protesters on official orders—were “very ethical.”

Brig. Gen. Tito also claimed that it was unclear who had shot the five protesters.

“We never shoot at a target to take a life,” he claimed, adding that although the military police were armed, they did not aim at, or shoot to kill.

“So, we don’t know who killed them,” he claimed.

Both the police and military police have issued similarly incredulous denials of killing protesters in the past.

When a woman bystander was shot dead by police gunfire in the Stung Meanchey area during a clash with stone-throwing protesters in November, the police denied their bullets were responsible. And, near the Monivong Bridge in September, the police and military police also denied their bullets killed another bystander during a stone-throwing incident.

Neither of those killings have been investigated, and Brig. Gen. Tito said that the military police officers who opened fire on Friday would not be investigated for the five deaths and more than 20 injured on Veng Sreng Street.

Protesters, however, who threw rocks at military police, would be investigated, he said.

“An investigation will be made just to find the persons who caused violence and to find the inciters,” he said. “If an investigation is needed, it will be for finding the ringleaders.”

Brig. Gen. Tito also said that about 30 military police had been slightly injured by the stone-throwers, who also burned wooden tables and pallets at makeshift barricades, and had attempted to make and thrown Molotov cocktails.

“A total of 30 military police were injured, but with minor injuries, but there were a lot of police who got serious injuries,” he said.

He added that a “Phnom Penh military police organization” would cover the medical expenses of the slightly injured officers, while the families of injured protesters would be expected to foot their own bills.

“Humanitarians who felt sympathy for the injured military” had also donated money toward their medical expenses, Brig. Gen. Tito said, declining to say who or how much.

On Friday, the Cambodia Express News reported that former Phnom Penh governor and current CPP lawmaker Kep Chuktema gave about 1 million riel (about $250) to badly injured police and about $125 to those with minor injuries.

Chin Thav, a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldier based in Kompong Speu province, said that his 19-year-old brother-in-law, Hoeun Kan, a garment worker, remains at Preah Kossamak hospital after being shot in the thigh by the military police.

“Garment workers are poor, so the government that ordered the armed forces to open fire on garment workers should help cover medical expenses for them,” he said.

© 2014, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.


The year is 1945 and Cambodian men are packed into traditional longboats, ready to race each other in an event that “has been going on for more than 1,000 years” at the annual Water Festival in Phnom Penh.

CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha said during a radio interview this week that he will meet with senior officials in the U.S. Department of Defense during his 20-day visit to the U.S., seeking their support for an eventual CNRP-led government.

The National Election Committee on Friday said that political parties would be banned from setting up permanent campaign bases in the city during next month’s council elections.

Sao Sothy’s home is small and the furniture is sparse. There are no tables or chairs. In one room, there is a small bed, but her family of four sleeps on mats in the living room. Hanging on the otherwise bare walls is Ms. Sothy’s teacher’s certificate.

The Council of Ministers on Friday passed three long-awaited laws on the reform of the judiciary and will send them to the National Assembly early next week.

The Cambodia Daily | All the News Without Fear or Favor | The Daily Newspaper of Record Since 1993