Austrian Woman Hospitalized After S’ville Attack

An elderly Austrian tourist was attacked on the beach Friday in Preah Sihanouk province, the wo­man’s travel companion and police said Sunday.

Maria Eberhard, who is either 69 or 70 years old, was struck on the head with a stone and possibly robb­ed, said Sokhorn Simon, police chief for Commune Four.

“Police found a stone near the victim and the victim’s head was bleeding,” he said. He said the victim was transferred to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh that evening for treatment.

Initially, the police did not know the woman’s identity and began circulating her photograph in hotels until someone recognized her and contacted them.

One of Eberhard’s traveling companions, Eleanore Friedrichs, was reached Sunday at the Ponleu Reas Thney Hotel where they were staying.

Eberhard was attacked by two teenage boys, Friedrichs said, add­ing that she did not witness the attack but got information from police.

Eberhard was on the beach, separated from her friends but surrounded by other people, when she was attacked, Friedrichs said, speaking in German. Her friends did not know if anything was stolen from her.

Eberhard and her group had been in Sihanoukville three weeks and are scheduled to fly to Thailand on Feb 16, Friedrichs said. So far, Eber­hard’s travel plans have not changed, she added.

She did not know how much longer Eberhard would stay at the hospital.

An elderly Western woman with a head wound was seen at Calmette Hospital on Sunday, but medical staff had no information on her identity. According to a medical report by Dr Nom Vireak, the woman, thought to be Eberhard, suffered heavy trauma to the right side of her skull after she was hit with a rock.

An official with the German Em­bassy, who declined to be named, visited the woman Sunday and said the embassy was awaiting more de­tails from police on her identity and the circumstances of her injuries.   The official said the embassy would follow up on the case today.

   (Reporting by Isabelle Roughol, Phorn Bopha and Frank Radosevich)

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