Driver Injured as Riverside Rock Attacks Continue

A tuk-tuk driver this week became the latest person to be injured in a series of reported rock and slingshot attacks on foreigners in the capital’s popular riverside area, police said yesterday.

Choem Sovannara, 26, said he was talking to three foreigners on the corner of Sisowath Quay and Street 136 at around 12:30 am Monday morning when he was hit in the face by a small, fast-moving projectile, which he believes was intended for the foreigners.

“This is a brutal case that I suspect was intended as an attack…on international tourists,” he said, adding that he suffered a minor injury below his left eye.

Echoing reports of earlier attacks, he said he spotted a large, black SUV driving away after the incident.

Chhet Vuthy, deputy Phsar Kandal I commune police chief, said police were investigating Mr Sovannara’s case, but no arrests had yet been made.

Mom Sitha, director of the foreigner bureau of the municipal police, said he had no information about the attack and referred questions to Daun Penh district police chief Hun Sothy, who could not be reached yesterday.

The string of attacks mirror a spate of unsolved cases from 2004, when several Westerners reported being targeted by a person who used a slingshot to fire marbles and ball bearings at them.

At the time, police investigations focused on the son of an unnamed high-ranking official, although no arrests were ever reported.

In another recent incident, a British national who asked not to be named for fear of retribution said he was walking alone past popular expatriate bar Paddy Rice on Tuesday evening when a rock was thrown at him. He said he had not reported the attempted attack to police.

Rien Vichet, deputy director of the foreigner bureau of the municipal police, said on Wednesday that police had been out on the streets every night this week, but had not observed any rock-throwing incidents.

“Bar owners should cooperate by informing or filing a complaint with police in order to prevent these attacks and ensure their security,” he said.

   (Additional reporting by Cheng Sokhorng)


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