Penal police said Sunday that a “personal dispute’’ is behind Friday’s failed bomb attack on the editor of a Khmer-language newspaper, claiming the attack actually was aimed at his wife.
But Lim Rattana, who edits the pro-Lon Nol-era newspaper Sathea Ronakrath (Republican News), continued to insist Sunday that the attack was politically motivated and is part of a larger campaign aimed at muzzling a series of articles critical of King Norodom Sihanouk.
Lim Rattana claimed he has been threatened twice in recent months and told that “if I delay publishing articles criticizing the King, I will not get hurt or threatened.’’
“I will continue to criticize the King and write the newspaper for the next generation of readers, so they will know about the King’s mistakes,” he said. “If the King had not supported the Khmer Rouge, it would not have been strong, so the King made a big mistake for our people.’’
Two men on a Honda Dream motorcycle tossed a bomb onto the roof of Lim Rattana’s car Friday, but it failed to detonate. The two men sped off on the moto, and the fuse caused mild burn damage to the roof of the car.
Penal Police Chief Khun Sophon said initial investigation has revealed the attack was part of a personal dispute involving Lim Rattana’s wife, Vuth Sreileak, although police could not explain why she would be targeted.
On July 2, two men on a Honda Dream believed to be the same as those involved in Friday’s attack rode their bike into her car, Khun Sophon said. On Sept 23, the same two men rode by and snatched her hand phone.
And on Friday, the same two men tossed the grenade onto her Mercedes as she crossed the Strung Meanchey bridge on the way to her parent’s house, penal police said.
Human rights workers at the organization Licadho said they were concerned about the case, and plan to investigate.
The Satha Ronakrath was suspended Sept 14 for 30 days for writing that the King was partly responsible for Cambodia’s civil war. The newspaper also was suspended in 1996, in part for printing the Lon Nol-era flag on its masthead.
Lon Nol ousted then-Prince Sihanouk in 1970 and ruled Cambodia until the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975.