Third Mortar Blast Victim Dies in Hospital

A 30-year-old Kompong Speu province fisherman Sunday be­came the third fatality in a mortar explosion that also wounded two other colleagues, authorities said.

Doctors at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh pronounced Lim Hong dead Sunday afternoon, four days after the 1970s-vintage mortar exploded as he and four other fishermen cast their nets near the shore of a small lake in Svay Kralanh town, a nursing su­pervisor said.

The explosion instantly killed the man who cast the net, Pol Oun, 22, Kompong Speu Mil­itary Police Chief Men Siborn said.

Another man, identified only as Keurn, 23, died Thursday from wounds sustained from the blast, according to published reports.

Wounded in the blast were Chea Kea, 39, whom authorities at Calmette Hospital listed in critical condition, and Sok Pheng, 20, who received minor wounds and did not require hospitalization.

Chbar Mon commune, the area where the men were fishing last Wednesday, was the site of heavy bombing and fighting throughout the 1970s, officials said, and the mortar was a relic of those years.

According to a recent report by the Cambodia Mine/UXO Vic­tim Information System, eight civilians have been wounded or killed by land mines and unexploded ordnance in Chbar Mon since January 2001. Twenty-eight individuals in Kompong Speu have been wounded or killed by land mines and UXOs since January 2001, the report states.

“Usually, these men drop their nets carefully,” Men Siborn said.

Sok Ly, the widow of Lim Hong, said Sunday from Cal­mette Hospital that her husband never regained consciousness after the explosion. Lim Hong regularly worked as a moto driver in Kompong Speu, but had started fishing earlier this month, Sok Ly said.

“I do not know how I will support my three children,” she said.

A total of 624 people have been wounded or killed by land mines and UXOs in Cambodia since the beginning of the year, according to the report.


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