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Newspaper editor seriously injured in hit-and-run attack following threats over article on illegal gambling

(SEAPA/IFEX) - SEAPA is concerned to learn that an editor of a weekly newspaper in the capital, Phnom Penh, was seriously injured in an attack apparently over his work.

On 15 February 2008, at around 8:30 p.m. (local time), "Sakal" editor Khuon Phlay Vy, who writes under the pen name Sar Keo Virak, was pursued by a white car that eventually crashed into his motorcycle and sped off, reports the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ), a SEAPA partner.

Khuon sustained serious bodily injuries and was admitted to a nearby hospital.

Khuon said earlier that morning, he received a phone call from an unidentified man who threatened him over a story he had published the same day involving an illegal gambling den in Phnom Penh's Boeng Keng Kang II commune.

SEAPA said the case merits serious attention in the light of the verbal threat to the editor right before the hit-and-run. SEAPA joins CAPJ in calling on the authorities to investigate the case.

"The perpetrator of this crime must not escape justice," CAPJ said in an 18 February release.

Cambodian journalists who expose wrongdoing write and publish under risk of reprisal from those implicated. CAPJ said 15 journalists received threats in 2007 for daring to bring up stories that affect the interests of the powerful and the rich. In this climate of fear and impunity, most newspapers practice self-censorship.

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