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Thread: Cambodian bandits shot toddler to stop his crying

  1. #1
    danceyogamom Guest

    Cambodian bandits shot toddler to stop his crying

    SIEM REAP, Cambodia (AP) -- The occasional sound of toddlers crying came from inside the international school where masked gunmen held dozens of children hostage.

    A 2-year-old Canadian boy cried too much, the attackers said, so they shot him in the head and killed him.

    The echo of gunshots raised the tension Thursday on the muddy street in front of the school, where hundreds of onlookers had gathered to wait out the ordeal.

    As police negotiated, parents wept and the hot hours stretched on.

    Inside the school near the famed Angkor Wat temples, a teacher had given the toddler-hostages chocolate and tried to distract them with songs and games.

    By the time police finally overpowered the four attackers -- a full six hours after the siege began -- the parents' fury erupted. They kicked and beat three of the four, described by police as small town gangsters, and left at least one unconscious before authorities intervened.

    "They were very outraged by them. We could barely control the angry crowd," said military police officer Prak Chanthoeun. "One foreigner threw several hard kicks to the head of one of those men."

    The attackers, motivated by a desire for money, barged into the school at about 9:30 a.m. and herded a teacher and almost 30 nursery school-aged children into a classroom in one of the school's two buildings.

    Dozens of other children -- from as many as 15 countries -- managed to hide or scramble from the grounds.

    Parents rushed to the school and waited with soldiers and police, many sitting on the ground in any shade they could find against the heat of the day as authorities negotiated.

    The attack paralyzed traffic near the school. Officials brought in armored cars and a fire engine.

    The attackers demanded money, weapons and a vehicle, and Cambodian officials partially complied, delivering US$30,000 and a van.

    The attackers got in the van along with four children, but as they prepared to drive off, security forces closed the school gate and stormed the van, dragging the men out, Chanthoeun said.

    Parents were seen grabbing their children and dashing away from the school yard.

    The gang's leader, identified only as Khum, later told police he had shot the child, who had moved to Siem Reap with his parents just a few months ago, Chanthoeun said. "This man admitted he shot the child because the child was crying a lot," he said.

    Denis Richer, a Frenchman who teaches at another school in the town, said he tried to comfort the father. "I asked him, 'what can I do now?' He was completely lost," Richer said.

    He said the family arrived in Siem Reap about two months ago so the father could take a management position at the Hotel de la Paix, due to open next month. Family members could not be immediately contacted.

    The hostage-takers came from a district near the capital Phnom Penh to work in Siem Reap. They told police they were penniless and "decided to do that to the foreign children because they believed their families are rich," said Chanthoeun, who described them as small town gangsters.

    Shirtless and shoeless, with faces bloodied and hands cuffed behind their backs, three of the arrested men were seen afterward at the district police station. Two were on gurneys waiting medical attention, while a third sat with his head slumped in a chair being interrogated.

    The affair was a rare disturbance to the tranquility that usually prevails in Siem Reap, Cambodia's main tourist town because it is a gateway to the fabled Angkor Wat temple complex.

    David Gainer, U.S. Embassy spokesman in the capital Phnom Penh, said children of American citizens were also among the hostages. He did not give the number but said they survived the ordeal unharmed.

    "We regret the loss of life," Gainer said, adding that the United States extends its sympathy to the families of the victims.

    "We commend the Cambodian authorities on their actions that ensured the standoff ended without further loss of life," he said.

    Parents of many children at the Siem Reap International School are expatriates serving in the tourism sector, including a string of upmarket hotels catering to wealthy travelers.

    Violence against foreigners "doesn't happen here often" said Richer, a 12-year resident whose daughter attended the international school last year. "Cambodia is a quiet country. We feel safe here."

    Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the government hopes tourism can help improve the desperate conditions. While foreigners generally go unmolested, street crime is otherwise rampant, especially in the cities.

    "The children were very scared, and the parents were, of course, crying," said Belgian doctor Georges Dallemagne, who lives in Siem Reap and rushed to the school to offer assistance. "Everybody was completely shocked. It was a really emotional day, and for the parents, it was very, very bad."

  2. #2
    beltman713 Guest
    My wife's brother lives in Siem Reap, she was shocked.

  3. #3
    Skitch76 Guest
    That poor kid. Those poor parents. I just can't believe someone can shoot a 2-year old in the head.

    But! This part was the best:
    "[parents] kicked and beat three of the four, described by police as small town gangsters, and left at least one unconscious before authorities intervened."

    "One...threw several hard kicks to the head of one of those men."

    Yeah!! Beat the shit out of 'em!

  4. #4
    beltman713 Guest
    These guys will probably get the firing squad, literally.

  5. #5
    princesskittypoo Guest
    yeah i agree with skitch you mess with a kid you deserve to get the crap kicked and beat out of you. people keep messing with the smallest of human life cause they are easy targets. i'd certainly be one of the parents trying to get a peice of those bandits! don't mess with my kids!

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