Two villagers were arrested for allegedly attacking a “journalist” on Sunday in the Sotr Nikum district of Siem Reap, according to provincial police chief Suot Nady.
“They were arrested because they beat a journalist’s head with a wooden stick and injured him,” Suot Nady said yesterday.
Tum Morng, a 37-year-old reputed journalist for the Krong Kampuchea newspaper, was attacked by the two suspects for allegedly extorting money from villagers who transport wood in the area.
The victim watched for wood traffickers and allegedly accepted bribes not to publish articles about them in the infrequently distributed Krong Kampuchea, Suot Nady said.
“He always sleeps on a hammock to watch for any truck or oxcarts carrying wood into the village, and he takes money from villagers for transporting wood.”
Tum Morng denied the extortion accusations and believes someone is trying to kill him because they are angry that he is investigating wood trafficking in the village.
“I don’t force people to pay me money. They just accuse me because I am fulfilling my duty to investigate wood trafficking. I think someone is behind these two suspects trying to kill me because I have stayed in this village to investigate wood traffic here,” he said yesterday.
Ping Chinreth, provincial police chief of the minor crimes office, said he was writing a report to send the suspects to court but the victim instead asked to negotiate with suspects for compensation.
“They are talking and compromising about compensation. If they do not reach agreement, I will send them to court soon,” he said yesterday.
Tum Morng said yesterday that he had come to a compromise with the suspects’ relatives, who have agreed on a sum.
“They agreed to compensate me $5,000, but so far I have not received any money,” he said.