A local journalist told court and police officials in Siem Reap City this week that he received a phone call on Monday from a man who threatened to cut his throat in retaliation for an article he wrote about a group of alleged drug dealers, the reporter and officials said Wednesday.
Tang Ho, a reporter for the Apsara News Network (ANN), said he called city police on Monday and filed a complaint with the Siem Reap Provincial Court on Tuesday.
“At 2:41 p.m. [Monday] a man threatened to kill me on the phone,” Mr. Ho said.
“He asked me, ‘Are you an ANN reporter?’ I replied, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Where are you now? I will cut your throat until you are dead, even if you are a journalist.’”
Mr. Ho’s article, published Saturday on ANN’s website, reports the arrests on Friday of six alleged drug dealers who military police in Siem Reap City found with 32 small plastic bags and six large plastic bags of an unspecified drug. Two photos accompanying the story show the six suspects, five of whom have been jailed.
“I think those people want to kill me because I took their photos and did the story about them,” he said, adding he had fled his home in Svay Dangkum commune and is staying with friends and relatives.
“I dare not go back home, because after I was threatened, I saw strangers ride a motorbike around my house,” he said.
When a Cambodia Daily reporter called the number that was used to threaten Mr. Ho, the line was dead.
Siem Reap City police chief Thith Narong said he received Mr. Ho’s complaint and would follow up with him.
“I will call him to clarify evidence and to see whether we can probe further,” he said.
Keut Vannareth, a prosecutor at the provincial court, also confirmed receipt of the complaint but declined to comment on it.
On Tuesday, the Club of Cambodian Journalists released a statement condemning the death threat.
The club said it “believes that threats break the spirit of journalists who fulfill their roles as professionals, and affects the freedom and safety of journalists in Cambodia.”