The bullet that hit 22-year-old nightclub singer Huot Lakhena in the jaw on Aug 22 may have been intended for her sister, Huot Saravedy, said Nhem Saran, the mother of the two women.
Huot Saravedy, a well-known 28-year-old singer, received several threatening phone calls before and after the shooting, Nhem Saran said. The callers taunted Huot Saravedy, according to Nhem Saran.
“Are you still strong?” asked the callers, according to Nhem Saran.
The shooting, which took place as the two sisters sang their last song of the evening at Samneang Reatrey Beer Garden near Wat Phnom, sent Huot Lakhena to Calmette Hospital for about 10 days. Huot Saravedy has said that she did not hear the gunshot.
The bullet entered Huot Lakhena’s left jaw and exited next to her right nostril, shattering some of the bones in her face. Her medical bills so far total $1,200, but the family will need another $1,000 to pay for the surgery that will enable Huot Lakhena to sing again, Nhem Saran said.
The family has already mortgaged their home to pay the medical bills, she said.
Police have received no new evidence in the shooting, said Nuon Samuth, deputy chief of Srah Chak commune in Daun Penh district. There are no suspects, he said.
But Nhem Saran said the shooting may have something to do with the $400 a prominent businessman had recently given Huot Saravedy. The money was supposed to be used to organize a party, but Huot Saravedy spent $300 of that money on medical treatment for an uncle who had recently been shot during a robbery.
Nhem Saran denied rumors of an affair between the businessman and Huot Saravedy. Huot Saravedy became a nun two weeks ago at a Phnom Penh pagoda. She does not use a mobile phone anymore, her mother said.
Huot Lakhena has worked as a singer since 1999. She has performed on television and once worked for four months as a singer in Australia.