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Shooting Victim Offered Money To Drop Case

An unidentified garment worker lying on a hospital bed with multiple gunshot wounds to her back. Last week, police identified the mayor of Bavet town Chhouk Bandit as the prime suspect.

The family of one of three women injured in a shooting by a city official in the Svay Rieng provincial town of Bavet has been offered money to drop its complaint, a local leader told VOA Khmer Wednesday.

Sok Sea, chief of Pdao village, said he was approached by a commune council leader police and asked to negotiate with the family a sum of $1,000 in exchange for their dropping the case against Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith.

Chhouk Bandith is accused of firing into a group of garment factory protesters who gathered last month to demand better salaries and working conditions.

Sok Sea said the family of Bun Chenda, who was shot in the back and chest and was just released from a hospital in Phnom Penh, has asked for $10,000.

“The deputy police inspector and the chief of commune and his commune council member stayed and asked me to go and make a compromise with the victim’s family in exchange for $1,000,” he said.

Deputy police chief Keo Kong and Huot Samay and commune chief of Chrak Matess denied they have been involved in negotiations.

Bun Chenda, meanwhile, says she is not interested in dropping the case, even for that amount.

“He did this against me,” she said. “I cannot stop the suit.”

Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of Cambodian Defenders Project, said Cambodian law allows for out of court compromises on some crimes, but that law enforcement has a duty to pursue cases in serious crimes whether victims bring suit or not.