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Journalist Claims Assault by Military Police

A daily newspaper reporter in Sihanoukville was allegedly slapped in the face by a millitary policeman following a report on illegal logging.

"It's a threat against journalism, that's how I can classify it," the journalist, Ros Phina, said.

The alleged incident occurred July 25, when Ros Phina and military police Capt. Nget Vutha failed to reach an agreement on a correction to an illegal logging article in Koh Santepheap, a daily newspaper.

The military police were quoted in the article saying they had a license to transport logs, and Ros Phina said there was not enough evidence to retract it.

Ros Phina said he was then slapped by Nget Vutha, who could not be reached for comment.

Var Chanthan, chief of the security unit for Sihanoukville military police said he would look into the incident.

Twelve journalists have been killed in Cambodia since 1994, including the recent shooting death of opposition journalist Khim Sambor. Others have fled the country, or have faced assaults.

The Asian Human Rights Commission condemned the alleged assault, calling on top officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, to take disciplinary action against Nget Vutha.