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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police investigating newspaper bombing

Police investigating newspaper bombing

A GRENADE exploded in the grounds of the Damneung Pelpreuk (Morning News)

newspaper September 7, as violence again returned to Cambodia's

press.

The blast occurred around 7:45pm while publisher Nguon Nuon was

preparing his next day's edition in an upstairs office of his house.

He

and his family escaped unhurt, though a 65-year-old neighbor was wounded

slightly by shrapnel which tore holes through the front gate of Nuon's

house.

The publisher said he initially thought it was a gas explosion in

his downstairs kitchen, until he found glass from his shattered front

door.

Neighbors reported seeing two men on a motorbike outside Nuon's

house at the time of the attack. Police want to question those men.

The

grenade exploded less than half a meter inside Nuon's three-meter high front

gate which stands underneath a tall tree. The site of the explosion led at least

one rival newspaper to publicly suggest Nuon himself had planted it to attract

publicity and sympathy.

A high-ranking police officer, who asked not to

be named, said the police investigation was not complete but he doubted whether

Nuon was responsible. "He was really shocked after the blast and dared not open

his door to other policemen until after I arrived. We are looking at other

possibilities like his articles that might suggest a dispute between him and

other people."

At the Post's press time, the Morning News had not

restarted publication.

The Khmer Journalists Association condemned the

grenade attack as a "senseless, cowardly" act of premeditated

terrorism.

The Human Rights Action Committee of NGOs described it as a

"terrible act" and appealed to the government to find and prosecute the

perpetrators.

The League of Cambodian Journalists and the Ministry of

Information also condemned the attack.

The grenade blast came on a day

symbolic of violence against journalists - the one-year anniversary of the

assassination of Voice of Khmer Youth editor Non Chan on Sept 7 last

year.

Two other Khmer journalists died in violent circumstances in 1994,

while on March 24 last year a grenade was thrown into the office of the

Antarakhum (Intervention) newspaper, injuring five.

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