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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Embassy reviews travel advice after British bar owner slain

Embassy reviews travel advice after British bar owner slain

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Jane Nye, who is being treated for her injuries in Bangkok.

A

horrific knife attack by a burglar that left a British man dead and a New Zealand

woman gravely injured has prompted the British Embassy to review its travel advice

to Britons considering travelling to Cambodia.

Municipal Autopsy Police Chief Prach Nhat confirmed that around 12.15 am on February

22, Briton David Mitchell, 36, owner of the Ginger Monkey bar on Street 178, was

fatally stabbed in the neck, arms and chest. Jane Nye, 29, a New Zealander and the

managing editor of Cambodia Scene magazine, is in Bangkok being treated for knife

wounds to the face, eyes, throat and arms.

Tuoch Naruth, Phnom Penh Municipal Police commissioner, arrived at the couple's apartment

above the bar at 12:30 am. He said a suspect, Tong Chen, 18, a homeless youth, was

arrested about one hour after the crime when found washing blood from his hands and

arms outside the National Museum near the bar. Police found the murder weapon - a

long kitchen knife - abandoned close to the scene of the crime.

Naruth said Tong Chen is being held at Daun Penh Police Station and will be sent

to the municipal court today, February 24. He faces a maximum sentence of life in

prison if found guilty.

Naruth said Tong Chen had confessed to the stabbings but said he had no premeditated

plans to kill anyone. Naruth said the burglar had entered the property in an attempt

to steal valuables, but was disturbed by the victims and attacked them.

Brandon Davis, a Canadian national and manager of the Ginger Monkey, said he was

alerted to the attacks by the arrival of an ambulance on the street and rushed to

the scene.

According to Davis, Nye went on to the balcony shortly after midnight to use the

flat's bathroom. She was attacked and called for help. Mitchell went to her aid and

was attacked, dying almost immediately. In the ensuing confusion Nye was able to

crawl away from the attacker.

"My personal opinion is that she went outside and spooked somebody who was getting

ready to rob the place," Davis said. No valuables were reported to be missing

from the scene.

The stabbing of Mitchell is the latest in what some say is an upsurge of attacks

on foreign nationals in Cambodia. Mitchell is the second foreigner working in the

service industry to be killed in recent months. On November 28, 2005, Alain Romanouly,

49, the owner of Palm Resort in Kien Svay district, Kandal province, was found dead

having sufffered fatal head injuries from a meat cleaver.

Although it is British Embassy policy not to comment on individual consular cases,

John Mitchell, Chargé d'affaires, said, "In the light of this incident

involving the death of Mr Mitchell and the increase in violent incidents directed

against foreign nationals in Cambodia, we are reviewing the travel advice we give

out to British citizens."

On the night of the attack, Mitchell had dined at the Cantina restaurant on the riverfront,

leaving about 10pm. Cantina's owner, Hurley Scroggins, said Mitchell had not been

drinking alcohol on the night of the attack. Scroggins said security for foreign

nationals in Cambodia has recently deteriorated.

"I have been closing earlier and taking security precautions for the last two

weeks as there is no law and order on the streets after midnight," he said.

"There is a problem - anyone who says there isn't is either woefully misinformed

or a liar."

But Davis said the attack does not reflect worsening security for foreign nationals

in Cambodia.

"If anything foreigners have a protective halo compared to locals. Robbing a

foreigner gets you into more trouble than robbing a native. That still stands...We

are not being targeted, these are just two unlucky, random occurrences."

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