Two men were arrested on Wednesday evening for their alleged involvement in a brutal mob beating following a hit-and-run in Phnom Penh on Sunday.
Footage of the event shows an angry mob descending on the car of university professor Suy Sareth, with individuals hurling large rocks and bricks at his face.
Bun Sathya, head of Phnom Penh Municipal Police’s minor crimes bureau, identified the two men arrested as Yath Tithya, 21, and An Vinty, 21.
“We are questioning them, and both of them committed crimes and hit the car and beat him,” Sathya said.
The arrests come a day after one of the most brutal attackers was identified as Pheach Kimhak, 20, who was linked to the notoriously violent Daun Penh district security guard unit. While the Daun Penh administration claimed Kimhak was no longer a part of their force, one Daun Penh security guard, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he was still employed at the time of the incident and was supposed to be stationed near Wat Phnom.
Kimhak can be seen wearing khaki pants and a wide, military-style belt that resemble the unit’s uniform.
“We do not know why he went there to beat people, and there was no order from here,” the guard said. He also identified another man involved in the violence, wearing a red shirt, as a current district security guard based in Tuol Kork.
Eth Chumnith, head of Tuol Kork district administration, denied any of his security forces were involved in the violence.
Kimhak remains at large, but Sathya confirmed some Daun Penh security guards were called in for questioning on Tuesday night and subsequently released.
“There were many people who beat him, and it was not only security guards,” Sathya said, adding that authorities had identified several suspects, though he declined to disclose how many.
At least a dozen men can be seen attacking Sareth and his car.
A family friend of Sareth, Chea Lin, had visited police to reclaim items that were lost during the attack.
Police told her most of the suspects had escaped but reassured her they were working hard on the case, telling her “not worry about it”.
Sareth’s lawyer, Chhay Sambath, said the arrests were “historic”, as many cases of mob violence go unpunished.
“This is a bad disease for our Cambodian country,” he added, referring to pervasive mob violence. “Those people want to cause chaos in society.”