An expatriate living in Phnom Penh has set up a fund to raise $3,000 over the next month to help pay the medical expenses of a student shot in the spine by a police officer at the SL Garment Factory workers’ protest last month.
Hoeurn Chann, a 26-year-old fourth-year student at Human Resources University, was shot after clashes erupted between the protesting workers and authorities.
Mr. Chann was rushed to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital, where he underwent more than two hours of surgery to remove the bullet. Doctors have told him that he will never walk again due to his injury.
The victim’s family says they have already borrowed 15 million riel, or about $3,750 to cover hospital bills to send Mr. Chann for treatment in Ho Chi Minh City.
The fundraising effort, set up by New Zealand national Francesca Eldridge and titled “Solidarity With Hoeurn Chann” on the website YouCaring.com, features a video of police violence during the SL protest uploaded to YouTube and describes Mr. Chann’s situation.
“Hoeurn Chann’s family are poor farmers and recently took out a loan…using their land as security, to gain money to pay for their son’s medical care. This means the family risk losing their land and their ability to earn an income. And their son’s medical needs will be ongoing, as will the costs,” the site says.
“This fundraiser has been established to: 1) Help pay for some of Hoeurn Chann’s initial medical expenses, and 2) Help the family pay back the loan so they can keep their farm and continue to earn a living.”
The fundraiser is set to close January 8. The family of Mr. Chann said they were happy to hear about the fundraiser and said the money would help supplement $1,400 they say King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath have granted them.
“As soon as we get the money from the King and Queen, we must rush to pay back our debt,” said Huon Sakhon, the victim’s 51-year-old mother, adding that the monthly repayment for her family’s debt is currently 45,000 riel, or about $11.25.
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