PHNOM PENH —
A Vietnamese man accused of torturing a toddler in Mondulkiri province was arrested in Ho Chi Minh city late Wednesday after fleeing to his home country, according to police.
The arrest of Nguyen Thanh Dung, 25, came after a graphic video circulated on Facebook allegedly showing him torturing the two-year-old child, sparking outrage across Cambodia.
Deputy Mondulkiri Police Chief So Sovan told VOA Khmer Cambodian police had temporarily concluded that Nguyen was the only suspect in the case.
“According to our temporary conclusion, we think that he captured that video by himself. But we need to wait for the answer from the suspect whether there was another person who helped capture the video or only him,” he said.
In the nearly three-minute video, the child is seen blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back, while the suspect tortures him with a taser on his ears, legs, back and nose.
The child’s mother, 30-year-old Neng Chen, who works on a cacao farm in Mondulkiri, told VOA Khmer that the Vietnamese man was always playing with her child.
“When I go to work, I bring my boy with me. That guy always played with him when I was there ... When I took my kid back, I saw bruises. He said my kid stumbled. I did not pay much attention,” she said.
Deputy National Police Commissioner Kirth Chantharith said Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities cooperated to arrest the suspect.
He added that Cambodia is asking Vietnam to send the suspect back to Cambodia.
“We don’t know how Vietnam will interrogate the suspect, but we want them to send the man here to file the document by our legal process and proceed to the court. But we have not received the response back from Vietnam,” he said.
Officials at the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Sok Ratha, a human rights coordinator for local NGO Adhoc in Mondulkiri, said that despite being guaranteed safety under national and international law, Cambodian children still suffer torture, violence and child abuse.
Under Cambodian law, Nguyen could be charged with aggravated torture and acts of cruelty, which carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years imprisonment.