Banteay Meanchey province police have opened an investigation into a journalist’s claims that he was attacked after writing a story accusing a district official’s bodyguard of being involved in land grabbing, a military police official confirmed Thursday.
Banteay Meanchey Provincial Military Police Commander Roth Sreing said he received complaints from Khmer Intellectual journalist Lon Nok, 32, about being beaten with a metal pipe.
The incident allegedly occurred as Lon Nok was driving to the small paper’s printing house in O’Chrou district Tuesday. Lon Nok claims that four men followed him in a white car, pulled in front of him, got out and asked, “Your name is Lon Nok?”
According to Lon Nok’s account, he answered yes and the men set upon him with a 1.5- meter metal pipe.
As they ran away, the attackers named the bodyguard and said that Lon Nok “didn’t know him well,” Lon Nok said Thursday.
Lon Nok had written an article in Tuesday’s edition of Khmer Intellectual, headlined “People are still faced with land abuse.” The story named the bodyguard and a commune official as the culprits in a land dispute in which they allegedly bull-dozed residents’ homes and crops in November.
The bodyguard, who has not been charged with any crime, denied any connection to the alleged beating.
“I am only a simple person. He has accused me without evidence,” the bodyguard said Thursday.
The Club of Cambodian Journalists condemned the attack, referring to it in an open letter as an “abuse of the freedom of journalists.”