PHNOM PENH —
A video of the violent beating of a TV star by a wealthy tycoon has gone viral in Cambodia over the last week and has now reached the ear of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
TV personality Ek Socheata, better known as Sasa, appeared before Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday to give testimony of her beating by Sok Bun, who has reportedly fled the country.
Her court appearance comes a day after Hun Sen called on her assailant to be prosecuted. Sok Bun was caught on security video beating Sasa in a Phnom Penh restaurant. Sasa obtained the video and posted it on her Facebook page, after which it went viral.
“Don’t think that because you have money you can escape,” Hun Sen said in comments directed at Sok Bun earlier this week, the Associated Press reported. “What you have done is intolerable,” he said.
Sasa told reporters outside the court on Friday she had not asked for compensation, but she said she wants her attacker to be brought to court. “I would like inform everyone, including journalists, that neither my family nor I have ever said anything about compensation, not even millions,” she said. “I would like him to come to the court.”
She said she was beaten when she tried to protect a friend from Sok Bun’s drunken advances at a Japanese restaurant late July 2.
Her lawyer, Put Theavy, said Sasa had testified in an investigation that has charged Sok Bun for intentional violence and charged his bodyguard, who held Sasa at gunpoint as she was repeatedly punched and kicked, for attempted murder.
Sok Bun issued a pair of statements Tuesday to plead for mercy from his victim, society and Hun Sen, AP reported. “I wish to publicly apologize for my mistake,” he said. “Give me another chance to participate in society and in the nation, and to restore honor to my family.” He has offered to pay Sasa $100,000, which she has rejected.
Ros Sopheap, executive director for Gender and Development for Cambodia, told VOA Khmer that similar incidents occur regularly in Cambodia, but typically perpetrators walk free. “I hope this case can be a model for others,” she said. “This model could last long into the future if the perpetrators are punished.”