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Man About Town: 27 Jul 2012

Man About Town: 27 Jul 2012

There were dramatic scenes late Monday afternoon at the Pouk Market on the outskirts of town, with a shootout between police and gold robbers leaving three robbers dead, one village hostage dead, another shot in the leg and at least one policeman injured.

Siem Reap Insider's Khmer reporter Thik Kaliyann was on the case and noted that Soeun San, Siem Reap City Police Chief said, "This is the first brutal robbery in Siem Reap this year."

And brutal it was. It started just after 5pm on Monday when four robbers stole gold worth about $20,000 from two dealers. But police closed in quickly and the robbers fled into a rice field where they held six villagers hostage.

One villager was a man aged around 30 who was walking across the rice field to go fishing to feed his impoverished family.

When police continued to block the robbers escape, one robber shot the young fisherman dead on the spot. Another village hostage was also shot in the leg.

Siem Reap Provincial Police Chief Sot Nady told Insider that, "We shot the robbers because they shot at us and at the six villagers they'd taken as hostages.

"After shooting the fishing man, they tried to escape and travelled about seven kilometers. Then they began shooting again and threw two bombs at police and villagers nearby. Luckily the bombs did not explode.

"The police then returned the gunfire in order to protect villagers and themselves. Finally three robbers shot dead were shooting to dead and one of hostage was dead as well."

He added that one policeman was injured and hospitalized after trying to block the robbers route on his moto - the robbers pulled the moto to the ground injuring the policeman.

Siem Reap police also provided money, about four million riel, to the fishing man's family and to the hostages who were injured.

Siem Reap Provincial Police Chief Sot Nady said, "The fishing man's family is so poor and his parents are too old to support themselves, so we also gave them some money because we feel so sorry for them losing their son."

On Tuesday morning Insider's Khmer staff relayed how they had nightmares and slept poorly after extremely graphic coverage of the aftermath of the violence was televised, with close ups of gaping and bleeding fatal bullet wounds a feature.

The graphic coverage by some Khmer media of violence also became an issue in Phnom Penh after a French expatriate Frank Mathieu was gunned down in Tuol Kork on Monday by four men.

On Tuesday, a French Embassy press release in part said: "The Embassy of France noticed today that several websites of the local press, in articles about the death of a French citizen Mr Franck Mathieu, have shown particularly shocking pictures.

".The Embassy of France once again regrets that Cambodian newspapers and websites have decided to publish photos which constitute an infringement of respect for privacy and human dignity and are contrary to the basic rules of press ethics.

"It reiterates its call to stop this type of publication, shocking for the families of victims and contrary to quality journalism."

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