Singer Returns to TV 9 Years After Shooting

Pov Panhapich, a beloved singer and television host who was paralyzed when she was shot twice in February 2007, returned to television for the first time on Friday with a performance on Cambodia News Channel (CNC).

Seated in a padded wheelchair with CNC hosts at her side, Ms. Panhapich smiled as she sang “Traces of Love,” a song about a women sacrificing her life for the man she loves, only to be betrayed.

Pov Panhapich performs on Cambodia News Channel on Friday night.
Pov Panhapich performs on Cambodia News Channel on Friday night.

“Wild flowers have only honesty to give for true love. Now, the flower has become wilted and decayed. You changed your heart, making life a swim through the tears of karma,” she sang.

The shooting of Ms. Panhapich, carried out by a masked man on a motorbike as she was walking to an English class in Phnom Penh, came in the wake of similar shootings of starlets, starting with the brutal murder of Piseth Pilika in 1999. A number of the young women were rumored to have been attacked by the jealous wives of ruling party officials.

Ms. Panhapich’s case, like those of the other performers, remains unsolved.

During an interview after her performance on CNC, the singer said that she had spent some $200,000—mostly from donations—on medical treatment since the attack, and was not hopeful that she would ever walk again.

“If we are lucky with a good chance, we can walk as natural, but if we are not lucky—as I am in such a serious condition like this—we may be handicapped forever,” she said, adding that she was aware of some cutting-edge medical options in Thailand.

“They have more advanced technology and they can find ways to treat us,” she said. “But we don’t need to hope for that because we don’t know where we will get the money from.”

Sok Khemarin, director of the penal police department at the Interior Ministry, said that the shooting of Ms. Panhapich was still being investigated, or at least it would be if anyone came forward with new information.

“We will keep investigating when the plaintiff or witnesses have any information; we will start working immediately,” he said, adding that catching the shooter was not easy.

“With each murder case, we cannot solve it immediately because the person who committed it is also sophisticated,” he said. “It is a bit difficult.”

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