Over $1,500 Raised for Paralyzed Protester

A fundraising effort set up to help the family of Hoeurn Chann, a man left paralyzed after being shot in the spine by a police officer during the SL Garment Factory protest in November, closed Thursday, having raised more than $1,500.

The “Solidarity with Hoeurn Chann” campaign was created by New Zealand expatriate Francesca Eldridge in December to help pay back more than $4,000 in loans the family had accumulated in paying for Mr. Chann’s treatment.

The fundraiser closed at 7 a.m. on the YouCaring website Thursday, having raised $1,515 of its $3,000 goal.

Huon Khon, the victim’s 51-year-old mother, said she was incredibly grateful for the money, which would help offset the 13 million riel (about $3,250) she said the family still owed private lenders.

“We are really appreciative of this help. Without this support, my family would be falling further into debt,” Ms. Khon said.

“Since my child came back from treatment in Vietnam, his condition has been getting worse and worse,” she added.

“He’s developed ulcers all over the lower parts of his body and he is still crying almost every day. It breaks my heart.”

Mr. Chann, who was fleeing at the time, was shot in the spine by an indignant police officer who had just been freed from a hos­tage situation created by the striking workers.

The episode late last year also saw a food vendor shot dead by police, and has since been followed by last Friday’s protest suppression, in which military police armed with AK-47 assault rifles shot dead five striking garment workers.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator at local rights group Licadho, said his organization had also aided Mr. Chann by helping him secure treatment from a foreign medical NGO.

“We still insist that there is an independent investigation into this case,” Mr. Sam Ath said. “If not, there will be more impunity and…the police [will] continue being violent.”

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