US National Faces up to 3 Years for Violence

A U.S. national arrested in Sihanoukville on Thursday faces up to three years in prison for committing violent acts during a fight on Wednesday night at a guesthouse in Bei district, officials said on Monday.

Vitaly Leydeker, an American, and Samuel Edery, an Israeli-American, were drinking in a guesthouse on Victory Hill when verbal sparring escalated into a brawl, said Men Vanny, chief of the provincial police’s minor crimes bureau.

Mr. Edery, 40, has said that Mr. Leydeker, 35, pulled a knife on him during the fight, but police said their official version of events was that Mr. Edery’s injuries occurred when he hit his head on a door.

“The American said he did not use a knife during the fight, and that [Mr. Edery] fell and hit his head on a door,” Mr. Vanny said.

Despite encouraging Mr. Edery to settle with his alleged assailant for $400, he refused and pressed ahead with filing a criminal complaint over the fight.

The disagreement began when Mr. Edery accused Mr. Leydeker of stealing his money while he was sleeping, said Mr. Vanny, explaining that the two men were staying at the same guesthouse. Mr. Leydeker admitted to going through Mr. Edery’s pockets but said he had only taken cigarettes.

Mr. Leydeker was questioned on Friday morning at the Preah Sihanouk provincial court and charged with intentional violence under Article 17 of the Criminal Code, said Huoth Vicheat, the deputy prosecutor on the case.

“The judge decided to temporarily imprison him at the provincial prison in the afternoon on the same day to await trial,” he said, adding that it could be four months before he is tried.

Chea Sok Heang, the judge handling the case, could not be reached for comment on whether bail had been set for Mr. Leydeker.

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