terça-feira, dezembro 13, 2005

Mastermind ?

See just this Post & Comments / 0 Comments so far / Post a Comment /   Home
Up, Down.

Must be the Mastermind, eh? He's the only one wearing a shirt!

Left to right, Van Sopheak, Chen Chem, 18, Chea Sokhom, 23, and Sum Tha, 18, the four Cambodian hostage takers that took 70 children hostage at the International School in Siam Reap Thursday, are presented at the Siam Reap police station yesterday. Police allege that Chea Sokhom, the one holding the gun, is the one who killed a three-year-old Canadian boy.

Lee Berthiaume (Globe reporter):
While Mr. Sokhom admitted the plan had been to grab his Korean employer's children and ransom them, Judge Chhlam addressed the most pressing question going into the trial when he asked Mr. Sokhom who killed Maxim.

Cambodian police have admitted to firing at the classroom that day in what they said was an attempt to distract the four men holding 28 students and two teachers hostage so a rescue could be attempted.

Mr. Sokhom admitted he picked up Maxim while police were firing at the classroom, but said it was a police bullet that killed the boy.

"I did not point the gun at the head of the child," Mr. Sokhom told Judge Chhlam. "They shot AK-47s from the outside and hit the child."

One of his accomplices, 22-year-old Vann Touch Sopheak, confirmed the report but 18-year-olds Chim Chem, also known as Ty Sokha, and Sim Thol, also known as Mann Thol, said they did not see who shot Maxim.

Mr. Michalik, whose job at a new luxury hotel in this booming tourist city brought his family to Cambodia only two months before his son's death, also said he heard police shooting throughout the day.

"Shots started only when a large number of police got there," he said. "There was shooting on and off, on and off, on and off."

Ultimately it was an autopsy purportedly conducted in the Michaliks' home country of Slovakia that swayed Judge Chhlam into finding Mr. Sokhom responsible for killing Maxim.

According to the report, which reporters were not allowed to see, Maxim's wounds and gunpowder residue found on his body indicated the shot came from "a very close range," likely 20 to 25 centimetres from the boy's head, a court clerk read.

However, the report added it was impossible to determine the calibre of the weapon.

Chea Sokhom: [2]
"I'm not shocked by the verdict, I'm satisfied with the life sentence but I didn't kill the child," he said after the trial on Friday.

Armed with a single handgun, Chea Sokhom and three other men stormed the Siem Reap International School in northwest Cambodia on June 16, seizing 30 children in a hostage crisis that, by his own account, quickly went awry.

"I had a dispute with my boss.... So I planned to kidnap his children and demand a ransom," the 23 year-old said earlier, describing how he wanted to exact revenge on his South Korean employer for slapping him.

"The South Korean children were in another classroom. There were so many students I didn't get a chance (to grab them)," he said.

Finding themselves suddenly in a standoff with security forces, the men quickly demanded 1,000 dollars, a car and several weapons, including two B40 grenade launchers, with which Chea Sokhom said they were going to shoot their way to freedom.

But as negotiations dragged on and no weapons were handed over, Chea Sokhom said he grabbed Michalik.

"The children in the classroom were all crying so loudly. I was carrying the child around, and I was also carrying a gun but I had it pointed at the ground," he said.

Police said the attackers shot Michalik early on during the siege to show they were serious about their demands for weapons, cash and a getaway car. An autopsy report showed that the child had been shot at close range.

Chea Sokhom said the child died when police began shooting into the school. "I did not shoot him. He was shot from outside."

Judge: [3]
Judge Plang Chlam challenged Chea Sokhom, pointing out that he had already confessed to police that he killed the boy.

Judge: [4]
'These people have committed a crime which led to a feeling of instability and insecurity in this country and this is unacceptable so they must face the full force of the law,' Chalaarm said in his summing up.

1. Globe: 'Mastermind' of Cambodian school siege jailed for life
2. NewsAsia: Two life sentences handed down
3. Yahoo: Trial opens for men accused in Cambodian school siege
4. Asia-Pacific News: Cambodian court sentences two men to life

Not everyone`s ambition, but there was a time when I read the papers just about every day, starting with the editorial page. It was an avuncular thing; begun a decent interval after one of my uncles expressed shock that I was not doing it. And expanded when another one of them told me how to learn french - read the editorial, he said, read it slowly and carefully. Not-so-simple wisdom. I learned for myself to read the letters to the editor, and slowly graduated to writing them.

Of course I thought I was the only one. My friend Marg surprised me one day when she complimented me on a letter of mine which had actually been published, in the Globe yet. That such a thing was a high-water mark for me is telling if you care to think about it. Somewhat later I discovered the joys of reading the news in a beer hall. A transparent disguise and no need to explain. Devolution.

Rarely even see a physical made-out-of-paper newspaper anymore nevermind read the letters. One could say that blogging is equivalent, and it is, but only in a geographical sense. It occupies the same territory but more like a street gang than an uncle.

Quite simply, there is no restraint, neither subjective nor objective. There is no editor-in-chief or merely a vestigial one. There is no standard, no achievement, no worthiness. There is no limit. Very little of it gets read, less is savoured, appreciated or digested. An alimentary canal ending as they do end.