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Family presses for answers in death of Cambodian man after gambling raid

The family of a 47-year-old Cambodian man is seeking justice after he ducked into a café to avoid a rainstorm, got caught in a police raid on on-line cockfight gambling, and suffocated during a rough interrogation, his daughter said Tuesday.

Soung Dorn, who was deputy chief of Rong village in the central province of Kampong Thom, died Sunday evening at the hands of a military policeman who pressed his arm over his windpipe until he stopped breathing, Nearadey Din told RFA after reporting the death in an appeal for justice on Facebook.

“As he came from a meeting, it was raining and he took shelter in a coffee shop. Then a military police officer grabbed my father and pressed his neck until he could not breathe, and he died,” she wrote on Facebook.

I’m still so sad and shocked, I feel like fainting,” she told RFA Khmer.

“This should not have happened to my father. They can make an arrest, but why make people die?”

Nearadey appealed on Facebook to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the chair of the Cambodian Huma Rights Commission “to seek justice for our father, who has suffered atrocities and such inhumanity.”

In response to the incident, the commander of the National Gendarmerie, Sao Sokha, told local media that he had ordered the suspension of officials involved in the arrest on Sunday and set up a commission to investigate the case immediately.

But Nearadey told RFA on August 9 that her family and villagers reject the police forensic results that said Soung Dorn died of a heart attack. She said that her father was healthy and never had heart disease or any other disease.

People shouted that he did not look good and suggested taking him to the hospital first, and arrest of him later, but they refused to do so,” said Nearadey, referring to military police.

Nearadey also rejected claims by National Gendarmerie spokesman Eng Hy, who wrote on his Facebook page that officers had tried resuscitate her father with CPR. She said the military police left her father to die and then took him to a district hospital.