Far-Reaching Threats a Worry for Cambodian-American Journalist

Paranoia has become something of a way of life for Sarada Taing, ever since the journalist received violent threats from a pro-government social media personality in Cambodia in June.

In one audio message sent via Facebook Messenger on June 19, Pheng Vannak, a former police officer, said he “wants to chop my head if I come to Cambodia,” said Taing, who lives in Washington.

In a second audio message, the caller said he knew people in the United States who also hated Taing. Days later, on June 22, Vannak hosted a Facebook Live discussion, during which he said he would not think twice about killing Taing.

Both messages — reviewed and translated by VOA — are profanity-laced tirades that include threats of sexual violence against the journalist’s family.

“I feel really shocked, and I got really scared. My family is very scared,” said Taing. “I don’t have any mechanism to protect myself very much.”

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Liam Scott