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Tower standoff ends in attempted suicide

People come to the aid of a 27-year-old threatening to commit suicide on an antenna tower in Siem Reap this week. Hang Savyouth/RadiO Free Asia
People come to the aid of a 27-year-old threatening to commit suicide on an antenna tower in Siem Reap this week. Hang Savyouth/RadiO Free Asia

Tower standoff ends in attempted suicide

A 27-year-old man was still recovering in a Siem Reap hospital yesterday after spending five days and four nights atop an antenna tower contemplating suicide, according to police.

Ly Ratana, a police officer in Mondul Py village in Svay Dangkum commune, said the man, who purportedly suffers from a mental illness, had climbed the antenna on December 20.

“He told us that if we climbed up, he would climb higher,” he said. “We had no way to [bring him down]. We just kept calling him.”

After a protracted standoff, on Saturday, a relative climbed up to try to persuade him to come down, but instead, the man attempted to use his shirt to hang himself.

Officers had placed a mattress on the ground just in case he fell, Ratana said. But at that point, the relative and another person were able to carry the man down after he fell unconscious.

By the last day of the standoff, the man had climbed 50 metres, Ratana said.

Tem Phalkun, director of the Siem Reap provincial referral hospital, said that the man was admitted after the incident because he was severely dehydrated.

“He suffered many days with no food and water, and he was under the heat,” Phalkun said, adding the man was still in the emergency room because was unable to urinate and is having problems breathing.

“We are considering sending him to a psychiatric room,” he noted, adding that the man should be released in the next three to four days.

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