K Krom Monk Hit by Rock; Fellow Monk Blamed

A Khmer Krom monk was struck in the back of the head with a rock thrown by another monk as he was leaving a party Sunday afternoon in Phnom Penh, the victim and rights workers said Monday.

Thach Bin, 49, was leaving a celebration marking the two-year an­ni­versary of Khmer Krom pro­tests against the Vietnamese government when he said a fellow monk, known to him only as Lith, hit him with a stone, causing bruising and swelling on his head.

The alleged victim, who is the assistant di­rector of planning for the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation, said he did not know why he was at­tacked, claiming he had no problems with his alleged assailant. He believes the “suspected monk must have been hired or worked for a party who dislikes Khmer Krom monks.”

The attack happened at about 3:30 pm at the house of newly elected KKKF director Taing Sarak in Meanchey district’s Stung Mean­chey commune.

Thach Bin said he was receiving medical treatment at a relative’s home and has not yet returned to Wat Samaki Raingsei, a predominantly Khmer Krom pagoda that has seen other incidents of internal conflict in recent months.

“I dare not return to Samaki Raing­sei pagoda because the suspect has not yet been caught,” he said Tuesday by telephone. “I am really concerned for my safety because it was an attempted killing since a big rock was used to break my skull.”

Tep Va, an administration officer for Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organization, spec­­ulated that the motivation for the attack most likely stemmed from a personal matter between the two.

“It is my personal belief the attack must involve personal dispute, since the attacker is also a Khmer Krom monk,” he said.

Tep Va added that his organi­zation­ took the injured monk to a private medical clinic for treatment and is searching for the alleged attacker.

Stung Meanchey commune po­lice chief Mao Savoeun said the victim never informed police of the as­sault, though he pro­mised an investigation would be carried out if Thach Bin were to come forward.

“Our police will open an investigation whenever the victim files a complaint with us and reports the motivation of the attack to us,” he said.


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