Radio Free Asia journalist hit by truck of army officer involved in illegal logging

Following is an alert filed by SEAPA with information provided for by Cambodian Association for Protection of Journalists (CAPJ)

A local journalist working for US-based radio, Radio Free Asia was hit by a truck transporting illegal cut wood while he was taking photographs of illegal logging in Cambodia’s Northern Ratanakiri province. Ratha Visal, 50, managed to escape, however, with minor leg injuries.

On 30 September, Visal said he went along national route No. 19 to investigate on illegal logging upon tips offered by villagers. Visal said he was taking photographs in front of a car when a truck driven by a military officer with Region 1, identified later as Lt. Phal ran towards him.

According Radio Free Asia, the driver in his attempt to escape was about to run over Visal, who lost his footing and was brushed and dragged for about 100 metres. Visal however sustained minor injuries on his legs.

“He(Phal) fired three shoots in the air to frighten me” said Visal.

According to him, the local authority arrested two trucks transporting illegal cut woods but Phal managed to escape with his truck.

Visal said he already complained to the provincial police and provincial judge about this incident.

CAPJ President Um Sarin has urged the local authority to arrest the lieutenant and bring him to justice, and measures should be taken to protect journalists in performing their duties.

In Cambodia, provincial journalists remain a target of retribution or threats by corrupted government and military officials and those involved with illegal activities.

[Original title: “Radio Free Asia journalist hit by truck of army officer involved in illegal logging in Northern Cambodia”]

3 October 2005
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

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