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Tourists shot in late-night robbery

Tourists shot in late-night robbery

Two foreign tourists were shot and another assaulted in a late-night mugging incident

near O'Russey market in Phnom Penh in the early hours of Jan 13.

Dutch national Martijin Van Welzenes, 28, and Australian Ross Sin, 38, received non-serious

gunshot wounds at the corner of streets 182 and 107 at 12:40am while en route to

the Capital Guesthouse with three companions.

Makara 7 District police officer Yim Simony said the incident began when an Israeli

member of the group, Shani Roten, 21, was stopped by two armed men while walking

ahead of her four companions.

She refused their demands for money and was then slapped in the face by one of the

men.

Moments later Van Welzenes and Sin arrived at the intersection and confronted the

robbers.

One of the assailants produced a handgun and when his demands for money were met

with only $20, a Dutch passport and a credit card, he fired four rounds at the two

tourists.

One bullet lodged in Van Welzenes' buttock and another grazed Sin's skull.

Police say Roten escaped during the shooting while the assailants fled the scene

by motorbike soon after.

The wounded tourists were treated for superficial injuries at Calmette Hospital and

with their three companions left on a flight for Bangkok later the same day to seek

further medical treatment.

In a final twist to the robbery, an anonymous caller informed Capitol Guesthouse

staff later on Jan 13 that Van Welzenes passport had been found and the caller wished

to negotiate its return.

Van Welzenes declined police requests that he agree to arrange a meeting with the

presumed robber.

A spokesperson for the Australian Embassy said the incident was unfortunate.

"It points out how careful tourists have to be and how easy it is to be lulled

by the quiet streets of Phnom Penh at night," he said.

Although it has been some years since an Australian citizen had been shot in the

city, the spokesperson urged tourists to take the Embassy's travel advisory seriously

and avoid being on the streets late at night.

Tarek Bazley is in Cambodia with the help of Asia 2000 (NZ)

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