Reporter Drops Threat Complaint, Court Says

A journalist who filed a complaint with the Pursat Provincial Court alleging that a soldier threatened to kill him over an illegal logging report withdrew his complaint after the soldier was internally disciplined, court officials and military police said Monday.

Sak Rom, a reporter with Kapit News, could not be reached for comment. The paper’s publisher, Sim Chhunleang, said he was unaware of the complaint being withdrawn.

Neak Sovann, a clerk for provincial prosecutor Ton Sihatechas, said Monday that Mr. Rom withdrew his complaint on Thursday after negotiating with the soldier outside of court.

“On Thursday, the victim removed the file of the complaint from the court after claiming that there have been negotiations between both sides outside of the court,” said Mr. Sovann. “We have decided to remove the complaint following a request made by the journalist before the complaint got filed with the prosecutor.”

Mr. Rom had claimed that Suos Touch, a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldier, had visited him at his home carrying a gun to tell him to be careful with his reporting. The visit followed a series of damning articles linking Mr. Touch to illegal rosewood trafficking.

Mr. Touch could not be reached for comment Monday. His superior, Brigadier General Chhum Senghorn, chief of staff of RCAF’s 14th Intervention Brigade, said that Mr. Touch signed a contract agreeing to correct his behavior.

“On Thursday last week, we called Mr. Touch to the unit to make a thumbprint and a contract with the unit to stop doing anything that involves what he was accused of,” he said. “Mr. Touch acknowledged that he trafficked luxury wood in the past, and that he went to the journalist’s house and that they fought each other that night, but he denied having a gun.”

Brig. Gen. Senghorn said the contract stated that Mr. Touch must stop threatening journalists and cease trafficking illegal wood.

“We will punish him by not allowing him outside of the unit,” he said. “He gave us a thumbprint, and if he goes outside of the unit…without permission we will fire him.”

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