Pov Panhapich, the popular female singer who was left partially paralyzed after being shot one year ago in Phnom Penh, is recovering in Vietnam but unlikely to return to Cambodia, her sister said Sunday.
Pov Chan Sotheavy said that her 23-year-old sister is doing better, despite being unable to walk by herself, and she would like to bring her home, but Cambodia isn’t safe while the people who shot her sister are still at large.
“We are afraid she will be hunted again,” Pov Chan Sotheavy said, adding: “If they find the real [attackers], I will take Panhapich back to our country.”
Pov Panhapich was shot once in the hip and once in the neck by a young man on a motorbike on Norodom Boulevard on Feb 23, 2007. In March 2007, Battambang province police arrested four suspects for illegal weapons possession who they said might be linked to the singer’s shooting, but Pov Chan Sotheavy expressed doubt that the right people are in jail.
“I do not believe the authorities have arrested the real perpetrators,” she said, adding that she still didn’t know the real motive for the shooting of her sister.
Pov Panhapich recorded a few songs on a cassette tape for her fans last month, her voice soft and raspy, and said she still holds out hope that she will walk again.
“I wish I could walk…. I do exercises every day to strengthen my legs and hands,” she said.
Mok Chito, Interior Ministry penal police chief, said Sunday that he believes other suspects in the shooting are still at large, but that it has been difficult to proceed with the investigation because the family has been reticent to talk.
“The singer’s family did not cooperate with the investigation. We find it difficult to arrest the ringleader of the shooting,” he said.
The family’s hesitation to return to Cambodia was only normal, Mok Chito said.
“Everyone would fear if they had been attacked,” he added.