A BANTEAY Meanchey Provincial Court prosecutor has dropped charges against three people who allegedly injured a reporter while he was researching a story on illicit gambling, after the accused agreed to pay an unspecified amount of compensation and apologise publicly to the victim, court officials said Tuesday.
“We dropped the charges against the three people after reaching a mutual reconciliation between the victim and Vong Tho, a reporter for Rasmey Kampuchea newspaper in Banteay Meanchey province, and the three accused on April 1,” court prosecutor Tan Seyhak Dechak said.
“I followed the request from the plaintiff and defendants after they reached a reconciliation and asked me to lift the charges against the three suspects and free them before the Khmer New Year celebration,” he added.
On March 1, as he was researching an article about illegal gambling in Poipet commune’s Kbal Spean village, Vong Tho was confronted and allegedly beaten by Nging Trem, 49; his son, Lim Hy, 16; and his wife, 48-year-old Lim Lang.
The reporter has said that Nging Trem was operating a gambling ring in the area and wanted to prevent the story from being made public.
Vong Tho said Tuesday that he agreed to withdraw his complaints against the three suspects Thursday after they offered to pay compensation and issue a public apology in the form of a letter.
“I agreed to get the apology and compensation from the suspects after they have already served one month in pretrial detention and they were begging me,” he said. He did not divulge the amount of financial compensation granted in the settlement.
On March 2, the Club of Cambodian Journalists issued a statement decrying the attack on Vong Tho, saying violence against reporters was a serious violation of press freedom.