Villager beaten after bridge burnt

A Princes Town man is liv­ing in fear af­ter a group of men broke in­to his house and beat him in front of his wife and two chil­dren, ac­cus­ing him of burn­ing a bridge in the vil­lage which left res­i­dents ma­rooned.

Luke Phangy­ou, 32, de­nied that he set fire to the bridge and plead­ed with Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith to in­ter­vene in the mat­ter as he claimed the po­lice were not tak­ing his re­port se­ri­ous­ly.

Last Fri­day, the wood­en bridge near his home, at Buen In­ten­to Road, Gob­in Vil­lage, was set on fire.

Fire­fight­ers were able to ex­tin­guish the blaze. How­ev­er, on Tues­day the ar­son­ist re­turned and fin­ished the job.

The bridge has been cor­doned off as it is now im­pass­able. Speak­ing with Guardian Me­dia on Tues­day, Phangy­ou showed the bruis­es to his back and shoul­der.

“My whole head, my two legs swollen. All my back have in­juries. They drag me on the ground beat me with wood on my head.

They threat­en my wife and chil­dren and they say if I call the po­lice they go­ing to shoot­ing my house.”

Phangy­ou said the at­tack had noth­ing to do with the fire but stemmed from a re­port he made against one of the men for ha­rass­ing and threat­en­ing him.

Guardian Me­dia spoke to one of the men ac­cused of the in­ci­dent but he de­nied beat­ing Phangy­ou.

Re­call­ing the in­ci­dent, Phangy­ou, a wood­work­er, said on Fri­day night while he and his wife, Seema Ram­gob­in, 26, were at home with their chil­dren when they saw a fire brigade and a po­lice ve­hi­cle by the bridge.

At that time they thought the of­fi­cers were re­spond­ing to an ac­ci­dent. They put their daugh­ters, ages eight and nine months, to sleep and then re­tired to bed. How­ev­er, around 2 am on Sat­ur­day they were awak­ened by loud curs­ing and nois­es.

Phangy­ou said six men broke his door and ran in­to his house.

“They ask­ing me if I light the bridge on fire and they start to beat me non-stop with all kind of thing and any­thing they get in their hand on.

They start beat­ing me un­con­trol­lably. Af­ter I run across the road by my moth­er-in-law and they run be­hind me and they start to beat me in­side the yard.” He said the beat­ing on­ly stopped when the vil­lagers came out.

“They want­ed to kill me.”

Ram­gob­in, a house­wife, said the men be­gan pelt­ing bot­tles as they en­tered the house.

“I start to beg for them to stop. All in­side the bed was bot­tle. The chil­dren were cry­ing.”

She said one of the men tried to block her as she was flee­ing the house with her chil­dren. Ram­gob­in says she suf­fers from a heart con­di­tion and her heart swells when she is stressed. “Right now I have pain in my chest. I can­not take pres­sure.”

Phangy­ou said he made a re­port at the Princes Town Sta­tion on Sat­ur­day and re­turned on Mon­day.

“While the po­lice was tak­ing the state­ment I ask him if I could get to see the se­nior and he just for­get about my re­port com­plete­ly.”

He said the of­fi­cer told him to re­turn on Tues­day night to com­plete his state­ment, but he has no trans­port and taxis hard­ly work in that area at night.

Phangy­ou said he is afraid for the safe­ty of him­self and his fam­i­ly. When con­tact­ed a se­nior of­fi­cer as­sured that once a re­port is made it is in­ves­ti­gat­ed by the po­lice. He promised to look in­to the mat­ter.

Reporter: Sascha Wilson

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