Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Reporter, ‘witnesses’ tell different stories

Reporter, ‘witnesses’ tell different stories

Journalist Lay Samean lies on the road after being beaten by municipal security personnel near Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park earlier this month
Journalist Lay Samean lies on the road after being beaten by municipal security personnel near Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park earlier this month. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Reporter, ‘witnesses’ tell different stories

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said that radio journalist Lay Samean, who was badly beaten by district security guards on May 2 while covering a planned opposition rally, may have provoked the violence by calling the guards “yuon’s dogs”, among other insults.

The minister added, however, that he wanted to make it clear that he was “not condoning any form of violence against journalists”.

Kanharith made the comments when reached yesterday to confirm whether or not he had contacted Daun Penh District Governor Sok Sambath to talk about journalists being targeted.

The minister said he had spoken with Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong about the issue instead, but did not elaborate.

He added that he had “investigated the cause of the clash” involving Samean, a Voice of Democracy radio reporter who was taking photos near Freedom Park when the incident occurred, and was told by witnesses and unidentified journalists at the scene that the reporter had insulted district security guards.

“The photographer said: ‘Why don’t you allow the people to enter this area? This is Khmer soil, not yuon’s. You’re just yuon’s dog.’”

But Samean, who was hospitalised after the incident, insisted yesterday that he had said no such thing.

“I tried to take photos of the security guards who were chasing monk Luon Savath to attack him. I tripped and fell over and was beaten up by the security guards. They ran to hit me,” he said.

“I never said or used any such kinds of words with the security guards [then] or at any other time.… [I] am a journalist. We know our role and profession. We just go out to cover events and observe events and make a report about what happened.”

A Post journalist who was at the scene saw Savath, not Samean, asking the guards why they were serving the yuon – a term for Vietnamese – and not Cambodians, before he was chased.

Savath said yesterday that he had “never cursed anyone since entering the monkhood” and that instead, the guards had started insulting him before receiving an order to seize his camera.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The