Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bullet-riddled singer Touch Srey Nich's condition 'hopeless'

Bullet-riddled singer Touch Srey Nich's condition 'hopeless'

Bullet-riddled singer Touch Srey Nich's condition 'hopeless'

Seventeen days after the attempt on her life, famous singer Touch Srey Nich lay paralyzed

at the Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok, hooked up to artificial respiration on October

30.

"The doctor said that she is hopeless," said Mu Sochua of the Ministry

of Women's and Veterans' Affairs. "The investigation goes on and on, but never

ends."

A Funcinpec advisor in the National Assembly said "this is another Piseth Pelika

case," referring to the 34-year-old dancer shot in broad daylight outside the

O'Russey market in 1999. Pelika was rumored to have been romantically involved with

Prime Minister Hun Sen. But despite persistent rumors, no evidence linking Srey Nich

to senior government officials has come to light.

Srey Nich was shot, along with her mother who later died, on October 21 outside a

flower shop on Monireth Boulevard. Several motorcycles carrying men surrounded the

women as they entered their car in the morning. One of the men opened fire. The police

have yet to make any arrests in the case.

The singer's prognosis is grim. Doctors preformed an operation on her stomach last

month since she is unable to swallow after a bullet damaged her spine. The Funcinpec

official estimated that the government has spent about $15,000 on her evacuation

to the Bangkok hospital and $20, 000 for her hospital bills.

Sochua said on November 5 that she will go to Bangkok to find out more about Srey

Nich's condition on behalf of Prince Ranariddh. She called on the authorities to

make swift arrests for the attack.

However, Ministry of Interior spokesperson Khieu Sopheak said "the investigation

is progressing slowly".

"The police continue to question witnesses of the shooting and Touch Srey Nich's

family," he said. He added that they are waiting for Touch Srey Nich to talk.

"She is a very important witness."

But he denied that the shooting had any political overtones.

"The party that has power did not do this because they are paying for her treatment,"

said Sopheak.

In the past several weeks, shootings have claimed the lives of Chuor Chetharith,

a journalist at Ta Prohm radio, and three people who were standing by an accident

involving Nhim Sophea, an alleged nephew of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Sophea is accused

of spraying the crowd with gunfire.

Human rights groups are concerned about the effect these killings will have on the

population.

"People are concerned about security," said Thun Saray, president of local

human rights group ADHOC. "The authorities have little ability to find justice

and provide security for the people."

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