Journalist threatened, victim of hit-and-run accident

FEBRUARY 15, 2008
Posted March 5, 2008

Khuon Phlay Vy, aka Sar Keo Virak, Sakal

Khuon Phlay Vy, editor of the Khmer language daily newspaper Sakal, received a threat by telephone on February 15 over a story his publication ran on the same day about an illegal gambling den in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Keng Kang II commune, according to information received by the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ), a local press freedom group.

The threat was made by an unidentified male caller. Later that evening, at around 8:30 p.m., Khoun was chased and hit by a white car while riding his motorcycle in the capital city. The driver of the car did not stop after Khoun was knocked to the ground. He was taken to a nearby hospital for various injuries sustained in the apparent attack.

Khoun has since been released from the hospital and police authorities have promised to investigate the incident, according to CAPJ. The apparent attack fits a disturbing pattern of mysterious and unresolved traffic accidents involving journalists in Cambodia.

The Club of Cambodian Journalists, the country’s largest press association, urged the government in 2005 to open independent investigations into the deaths of two provincial journalists—one of whom reported about alleged official complicity in illegal logging in Kampong Cham province, the other about police corruption in Koh Kong province—who were the victims of fatal hit-and-run accidents. Until now neither case has been resolved.