Singer Touch Srey Nich, who was shot in October in a bold assassination-style attack, is regaining strength in a Thai hospital, according to a Radio Free Asia report Saturday.
The 24-year-old can now breathe independent of a lung machine and speak a few words, her father, Seang Touch, told RFA.
Friends welcomed the news that Touch Srey Nich’s condition had improved.
“I am very happy to hear that. I hope she will recover soon,” said cousin Sok Neath on Sunday.
Touch Srey Nich has been hospitalized and reportedly near death since Oct 21, when a man opened fire as she emerged from a flower shop on Monireth Boulevard. She was shot twice in the neck and once in the face.
Her mother, 59-year-old Kim Sinoun, was killed in the attack after she tried to shield her daughter from the gunshots, witnesses said. Police have made no arrests in the case.
Seang Touch told RFA that Touch Srey Nich had recently spoken, despite her grave injuries.
“I told her to move her body, not to keep it still, and Touch Srey Nich replied, ‘I tried to move, but I cannot,’” he was quoted as saying. Touch Srey Nich used eye movements to signal when and where she was uncomfortable, he said.
She spoke and breathed independently after doctors removed a respiratory tube that had allowed her to breathe, he said. Attempts to remove pipe previously caused her to cough blood, he said.
Touch Srey Nich was transferred late last month from a Bangkok civilian hospital to an undisclosed Thai military hospital after one official said the government would stop paying her medical bills. Khieu Thavika, a Council of Ministers spokesman, said in January that the government would halt its support despite promises immediately after the shooting to pay all of her medical expenses.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith later said the government would continue its financial support.