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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vivid memories won't deter shot journalist

Vivid memories won't deter shot journalist

Leng Samang has entered his third week of laying flat in a hospital bed since the

day he was assaulted by policemen in front of his house. While undergoing treatment,

the journalist also retains vivid memories of the night scene when he was kicked

and trampled by his assailants.

"I remember that after they shot me five of them trampled on my chest. I cried

out 'I am a journalist', but they yelled back 'we've been looking for a journalist

for a long time'," Samang recalled about the attack which occurred on Jan 2.

Returning from Prince Ranariddh's birthday party, Samang said he left the car he

had just parked to join his wife who had just given birth. He was caught just a few

steps from the car by armed policemen who asked for Cheng Sokna, the publisher of

Kumnit Kaun Khmer (Thoughts of Khmer Children) newspaper where he used to work.

"As I refused to tell them about him, they began to beat me. Three of them caught

my arms, while another one jumped to kick me in the chest," the 26-year-old

said.

"I wrestled with them, but one shot was fired in my right arm," Samang

said, adding that as he fell to the ground he heard one of the assailants shout "mistake".

"The man who fired the first shot replied 'as we have already mistaken him,

let's finish him'. Then they fired two more shots to kill me," Samang said,

adding that it was too dark to recognize the faces of those who actually pulled the

triggers.

Retelling the story, he opened up the blanket to show his wounds - one bullet struck

his left leg, another went through the lower abdomen breaking his hip bone.

He continued by saying that the assailants who thought he was already dead jumped

on his chest, while another went upstairs calling to his wife "take your husband

to the hospital".

"I thought about my wife, she could have become a widow if I were dead. It would

be difficult for her to bear as she had just given birth," Samang said, adding

his third child turned seven-days old on the day of the attack.

Although he pities himself for his troubles instead of his publisher Sokna, who has

been strongly critical of the CPP, Samang said the attack, as well as those against

journalists in the past, was beyond description.

Undeterred, Samang said he would resume his career when he fully recuperates, but

urged the government to do more to apprehend his assailants, including those who

murdered journalists in the past.

"I want the authorities to find and judge them according to their crimes. If

the law fails to find justice for me, more journalists will be killed in the future,"

he said.

However, any effort to arrest Samang's culprits may lead to nought as they are said

to have escaped already.

Chief of Penal Police Mok Chito said the alleged assailants attached to the intervention

unit of the Ministry of Interior have gone into hiding, but a search for their whereabouts

was still underway.

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