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.