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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Australian recalls shooting

Australian recalls shooting

Australian recalls shooting

A USTRALIAN Iain Howatson was heading home after midnight Saturday Aug 26 from a

party when he reached Independence Monument, rounded the corner where Second

Prime Minister Hun Sen's residence is and, in a nightmarish instant, realized he

was being shot at.

"I didn't know they were shooting at me, I thought

they were shooting at someone else. They just opened up. It wasn't a roadblock.

People opened up on me with AKs.

"I started to make myself as small as I

possibly could. They opened up on me as I was coming toward them. I remember

thinking, 'F**k, I've been shot.'"

Howatson said his motorcycle struck

the speed bumps around the monument, and he bounced his way on to Sihanouk Blvd

toward the Irish Rover bar.

"They were throwing out so much fire... They

shot at me all the way round the roundabout. They kept firing at me all the way

down the end of the street."

Howatson crashed his bike and was knocked

unconscious. By the time he woke up, his wallet was gone.

He staggered

down to the Irish Rover, bursting in and saying: "Help, I've been shot",

according to witnesses, and was taken to a medical clinic.

He wasn't

shot, but has a deep graze on one side of his forehead he suspects came from a

ricocheted bullet. A trouser leg also bore the tears of a passing bullet, while

one side of his face was badly grazed from falling off the motorcycle.

He

later found his Rebel bike - rented from the same shop that Bulgarian Mitko

Ivanov had got his Rebel from - had a bullet hole through its front suspension

and another through a fender.

Whether Howatson came under fire before or

after Ivanov remains unproved, though he suspects the two shootings could have

been almost simultaneous. Ivanov believes Howatson was shot at

first.

Howatson, 27, a Land Rover sales manager who arrived in Cambodia

two months ago, has filed a complaint with the Australian Embassy to be

forwarded to the Cambodian government.

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