Journalist Shot in Cambodia

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His Excellency Hun Sen
Second Prime Minister
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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10 June 1998


Your Excellency,

 The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to express our great alarm over the shooting of Thong Uy Pang, editor-in-chief and publisher of the popular Koh Santepheap (Island of Peace) daily newspaper. We urge your government to investigate this incident swiftly and thoroughly.

Thong Uy Pang was shot twice in the shoulder at close range at a temple near Phnom Penh on June 8 as he was preparing to pray at the grave of his parents, according to news reports. He survived the attack and is recovering in hospital. His attacker fled.

While the gunman's motive is not known, Koh Santepheap ran a front-page story on Wednesday accusing "powerful politicians in the present government" of being behind the attack. No details were given. It was the third attack on Koh Santepheap staff in recent years. In October 1997 two grenades were thrown at Thong Uy Pang's home and office but he escaped injury.

With Cambodia preparing for elections on July 26, it is imperative that journalists are free to practice their profession without fear of reprisal. In the last ten years, six journalists have been murdered in Cambodia as a result of their work. Failure to find Thong Uy Pang's attacker could have a chilling effect on the press.

As an organization dedicated to the defense of our colleagues worldwide, CPJ therefore urges you in the strongest possible terms to devote maximum effort to investigating the attack on Thong Uy Pang and bringing those responsible to justice in a court of law.


Yours sincerely,

William A. Orme, Jr.

Executive Director