Asia

Cambodian soldier admits attack on opposition lawmakers

  • Chay Sarith, left, a suspected attacker who is accused of beating two opposition lawmakers along with two others, enters the court room at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, April 28, 2016. Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday hearing the trial of three men accusing of beating two opposition lawmakers last year, November, 2015.  (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

    Chay Sarith, left, a suspected attacker who is accused of beating two opposition lawmakers along with two others, enters the court room at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, April 28, 2016. Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday hearing the trial of three men accusing of beating two opposition lawmakers last year, November, 2015. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Suth Vanny, center left, and Chay Sarith,  second right, suspected attackers who are accused of beating two opposition lawmakers, enter the court room at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, April 28, 2016. Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday hearing the trial of three men, including them,  accusing of beating two opposition lawmakers last year, November, 2015.  (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

    Suth Vanny, center left, and Chay Sarith, second right, suspected attackers who are accused of beating two opposition lawmakers, enter the court room at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, April 28, 2016. Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday hearing the trial of three men, including them, accusing of beating two opposition lawmakers last year, November, 2015. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Suth Vanny, a suspected attacker who is accused of beating two opposition lawmakers along with two other men, enters the court room at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, April 28, 2016.  Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday hearing the trial of three men accusing of beating two opposition lawmakers last year, November, 2015.  (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

    Suth Vanny, a suspected attacker who is accused of beating two opposition lawmakers along with two other men, enters the court room at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, April 28, 2016. Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday hearing the trial of three men accusing of beating two opposition lawmakers last year, November, 2015. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)  (The Associated Press)

A member of an elite Cambodian military unit being tried on charges of beating up two opposition lawmakers has admitted the act but says he was insulted by the victims and did not know they were members of Parliament.

Chay Sarith testified Thursday in Phnom Penh Municipal Court, where he and two colleagues are being tried in the October 2015 attack on two lawmakers from the Cambodia National Rescue Party as they were leaving a parliamentary session. The defendants were part of a pro-government crowd that had gathered to demand the resignation of deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha.

The three defendants are members of Prime Minister Hun Sen's bodyguard unit, and circumstantial evidence has led critics to suggest the ruling Cambodian People's Party orchestrated the attacks.