The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

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The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

The UNHR tackles the culture of mob justice in Cambodia.

The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

Leng's mother listened motionless as one of the witnesses recounted the incident that took her son's life the night before.
She tried to hide her feelings as much as she could because she did not want people to know that Leng was her son, due to the stigma and shame associated with being involved in a case of theft.

In July 2017 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a young girl accused Leng, a 15-year old boy, of wearing a t-shirt that had been stolen. Several people started to shout "thief! thief!" before grabbing him and tying his hands behind his back. The beating started soon after. Leng was punched and kicked by the mob, other people threw beer cans at his head. One witness reported that Leng was kneeling and begging for mercy: "his tears were mixing with blood running from his head," he said, while Leng's mother listened silently.

Badly beaten and terrified, Leng managed to escape from his attackers with his hands still tied behind his back. He fell into a pond that serves as a dumping site and pleaded for help as he could not swim. Leng drowned a few moments later because no one attempted to rescue him.

The following day, his bruised body was found floating among the garbage.

When people take the law into their own hands

Leng's story is not an isolated case in Cambodia. Such violent acts continue to be reported year after year in the country.

The term "popular justice" refers to an act of people taking the law into their own hands, generally involving violence and often in retaliation to an alleged crime, or a response to a perceived threat.

In a recent report released by UN Human Rights, the organisation listed 73 cases of mob violence in Cambodia between 2010 and 2018. In 57 cases, the victims died following the incident, while people were injured or harassed in the remaining 16 cases.

With no official data, the actual figures are likely to be higher.

Most cases are rarely investigated by the authorities and perpetrators of mob violence are often perceived as crime fighters or vigilantes helping society get rid of someone that is hurting other people.

Fabienne Luco, Human Rights Officer in Cambodia, said that it is crucial that there is "effective investigation and prosecution of criminals. This will help build trust in the authorities, and therefore encourage people not to take justice into their own hands."

Why is "popular justice" occurring in Cambodia?

Many people interviewed for the report indicated a lack of trust in the police, court and prison system, and believed they were entitled to defend and protect themselves by resorting to violent acts of 'instant justice' when they caught the alleged perpetrators. Many reported corruption among the police, and stated that justice was not being delivered properly as thieves were bribing their way out of custody.

Acts of mob violence are also strongly linked to poverty and exclusion. Cases are more frequent in specific geographical locations characterised by a lower level of economic and social development, or that are less accessible.

People accused of theft are the most common victims. Simple accusations are often sufficient to ignite a crowd into deadly violence and participants in the beatings are ordinary bystanders who witness the incident, or hear the call, "thief."

Other victims are people accused of practicing witchcraft or sorcery. UN Human Rights documented 49 witchcraft-related cases between 2012 and 2018, among which 35 involved killings and 14 attempted killings or harassment cases.

Victims must be granted their rights

Luco said that acts of popular justice "deny the victims the right to life, to a fair trial, and to the presumption of innocence."

UN Human Rights is currently working with the Cambodian government to strengthen the legal and judicial infrastructure. The report has recommended legislative change, calling for a policy which addresses acts of popular justice and the revision of existing guidelines for police intervention in case of mob violence.

The organisation is also urging the government to condemn publicly all acts of popular justice and to ensure that the killings and violence are promptly investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned.

04 October 2019
https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pag ... bodia.aspx
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Re: The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

A case in today's news perfectly illustrates mob justice at work. Two bag snatchers were captured and beaten in Siem Reap yesterday.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Breaking News: On 9 October 2019, a construction worker and a schoolboy attacked Yi Chantha, a 29-year-old woman, and snatched her bag containing 120,000 riel and three Oppo phones in Siem Reap city.
The thieves then rode off on their motorbike with the bag, but the woman chased them, shouting "Thief, thief!" Local people gave chase and caught the thieves. Then they gave the two men a beating before handing them over to police.
Image
The suspects are Heng Phearun, an 18-year-old male student, and Kim Yellow, a 19 year old male construction worker.
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Re: The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

Post by Ghostwriter »

No wonder when the auhorities are too weak towards the strongs, and too strong against the weak.
People get pissed off and release steam when they can, as long as they can hide in plain sight.
Nobody trusts the cops, and quite rightly so for now.
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Re: The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

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CEOCambodiaNews wrote: Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:36 pm A case in today's news perfectly illustrates mob justice at work. Two bag snatchers were captured and beaten in Siem Reap yesterday.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Breaking News: On 9 October 2019, a construction worker and a schoolboy attacked Yi Chantha, a 29-year-old woman, and snatched her bag containing 120,000 riel and three Oppo phones in Siem Reap city.
The thieves then rode off on their motorbike with the bag, but the woman chased them, shouting "Thief, thief!" Local people gave chase and caught the thieves. Then they gave the two men a beating before handing them over to police.
Image
The suspects are Heng Phearun, an 18-year-old male student, and Kim Yellow, a 19 year old male construction worker.

I dont see no blood. Perhaps a rerun of the event is called for.
Cambodia,,,, Don't fall in love with her.
Like the spoilt child she is, she will not be happy till she destroys herself from within and breaks your heart.
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Re: The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

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Ghostwriter wrote: Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:57 pm No wonder when the auhorities are too weak towards the strongs, and too strong against the weak.
People get pissed off and release steam when they can, as long as they can hide in plain sight.
Nobody trusts the cops, and quite rightly so for now.
Remember the saying "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!!!"

If there was a cop on every corner, people would be moaning "Police State"

I for one am happy that good honest folk come out to help and not just standby watching.

The majority of police do a good job - I trust them.

Mainly they do try and stop the beat downs.
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Re: The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

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Mishmash wrote: Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:15 pm
Ghostwriter wrote: Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:57 pm No wonder when the auhorities are too weak towards the strongs, and too strong against the weak.
People get pissed off and release steam when they can, as long as they can hide in plain sight.
Nobody trusts the cops, and quite rightly so for now.
Remember the saying "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!!!"

If there was a cop on every corner, people would be moaning "Police State"

I for one am happy that good honest folk come out to help and not just standby watching.

The majority of police do a good job - I trust them.

Mainly they do try and stop the beat downs.
When seconds counts, police are minutes away, and ambulances hours away.
Ok, there is not a policeman on every corner, but there is many guys with walkies talkies, many militaries, and many snitches in the real world or on internet.
It is a police state.
Most of the arrests highlighted on the forums don't have a lot to do with good work. And i don't even talk about the cops involved into shady stuff.
I didn't trust them the whole time i was here, although of course there is genuinely good ones. Of course. Like in every group.
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Re: The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

Post by Kinetic »

I don't really know what to think because there are good and bad cases. I remember the girl who stole something on the market , get caught, get slaped and people shaved part of her hair. It was a real debate on CEO to know if she deserve this or not. :unknown:
I would like to say that I'm against because I think when people are doing that it's because they feel that the autorities do not the job. But in the other side, when I hear that guys on bike get caught stealing handbag, get arrested and beaten. I'm thinking, "it's the karma", they deserve this. :evil:
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Re: The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

Post by Mishmash »

After reading the excellent posts and points of view I find pause for thought.

Does the street justice deter people from crime?

Which system prevents recidivism - harsh bread and water or kind rehabilitation?

Seems not even the death sentence deters some people.

I guess I am rather shallow rather than a deep philosophical thinker and prefer sound-bites and easy to swallow solutions.

Thanks @Ghostwriter and @Kinetic
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Re: The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

Post by explorer »

Some people talk about this as if it just started recently. Cambodian people have been living in villages for hundreds of years where there have been no police. This is part of their culture.

If men or boys go into a village where nobody knows them at night time, they get beaten up. They normally only go there to steal. In some cases they are killed. Even in this day and age.
Mishmash wrote: Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:04 pm Does the street justice deter people from crime?
Yes

But they may get away with stealing many times before they get caught. So they may think they wont get caught.

There is a shop on a country road with a Wing branch. Recently thieves broke in during the night and stole $10,000. The owners did not find out until morning, and dont know who it was. Do you think the thieves might look for another place to rob?

It is common to hear about houses being broken into and motor bikes being stolen, normally when the owner goes away.
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Re: The fight against ‘popular justice’ in Cambodia

Post by SternAAlbifrons »

Mishmash wrote: Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:04 pm Which system prevents recidivism - harsh bread and water or kind rehabilitation?
Seems not even the death sentence deters some people.
Being a wannabe scientist i look for the evidence.
Intelligently administrated, humane, rehabilitation wins hands down.
I don't support the death penalty for similar reasons.
- but also because i think it brutal and uncivilised.
Thank heavens Cambodia is not as regressive as China, Saudi Arabia and Kalashnikovistan in this regard.

With regards to street justice, I reckon the Rule of Law is what separates civilisation from barbarianism.
Sure, i understand the issue of no effective policing, and hence have some tolerance for concept of summary justice by the mob. However we should always struggle and make a strong stand for civilised behaviour.

If we don't have standards here, they will slip into other places - like how we conduct our politics, our business and our wars, eg.
..and how we treat each other.
imo.
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