Nguyen Thi Ngoc Mai of the Laborer newspaper says fellow reporter Le Hoang Hung, 51, suffered burns on about half his body following the attack early Wednesday.

Thursday's Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted him as saying he had no enemies and no idea who would have attacked him, while Mai said he covered a variety of topics and that the attack could have been revenge.

Hung was talking and in stable condition at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, a doctor said, but he has third-degree burns covering about 20 percent of his body, and complications from the burns could be life-threatening. The doctor gave his name only as Tien because he was not authorized to give information to the media.

Police are investigating the case, Mai said.

Tuoi Tre quoted Hung as saying that someone broke into his house around 1 a.m., poured a chemical over his body and set him ablaze while he was sleeping at his home in Tan An town, some 60 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Ho Chi Minh City.

Hung rushed to the bathroom and threw water on himself, while his wife and daughter ran from another room to help extinguish the flames, the paper said.

Mai said Hung has been covering three southern Mekong Delta provinces _ Long An, Tien Giang and Ben Tre _ for the newspaper for more than 10 years.

"He covers everything from land disputes, the police beat to health care and education," she said. "It could be a revenge."

The Associated Press - January 20, 2011