Fight Breaks Out Between Party Officials at Registration Station

A fight broke out between two officials from the CPP and CNRP at a Phnom Penh voter registration office on Sunday morning as the wife of the opposition member left the station in frustration for having failed to help a villager register to vote, an official said.

Chhum Socheat, 49, was assisting Nov Vany, a noodle vendor from Banteay Meanchey province, with enrolling to vote in next year’s commune elections at the Chak Angre Loeu commune office in Meanchey district at about 10:30 a.m., commune chief Keo Savoeun said on Monday.

Because the man had a Banteay Meanchey identification card, rather than one from Phnom Penh, he was turned away, according to Ms. Socheat’s husband, opposition member and deputy commune chief Srey Ngieng, 57.

A new election law that was passed last year allows voters to register either in their hometowns or where they reside for work.

When the man was told he could not be registered, Ms. Socheat began to protest loudly and was asked to leave, Mr. Savoeun said. As she departed, Tang Chan Sokhai, 57, a CPP commune council member, began taking photos of her on his smartphone.

Ms. Socheat then struck Mr. Chan Sokhai’s hand, causing him to drop his phone, and proceeded to strike him in the face, according to Mr. Savoeun. The commune chief later spoke with the trio, but was unable to quell the dispute, he said.

Mr. Chan Sokhai said he was “punched many times, my phone was broken and there are bruises on my hands,” but declined to comment further.

According to Mr. Ngieng, however, Mr. Chan Sokhai had initiated the violence after Mr. Ngieng accidentally caused his phone to fall.

“Then he started punching me,” he said. “When my wife saw that, she pushed him away. He punched my wife in the face and kicked her, and she fell on her butt and her arms were hurt.”

Mr. Ngieng said he had filed a complaint against Mr. Chan Sokhai with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and district police.

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