CNRP of­fi­cial de­tained over cap­i­tal protest fears

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Niem Ch­heng

HEIGHT­ENED se­cu­rity sur­veil­lance ahead of the CNRP’s dis­so­lu­tion hear­ing on Thurs­day – aimed at pre­vent­ing party sup­port­ers from en­ter­ing the cap­i­tal – en­snared an op­po­si­tion commune coun­cil­lor who was briefly de­tained by Kam­pong Chh­nang po­lice while try­ing to travel to Ph­nom Penh to meet his wife.

The CNRP’s Sam­rong Sen commune coun­cil­lor, Yon Sopheak, was stopped by Kam­pong Chh­nang po­lice as he left his res­i­dence to catch a bus to Ph­nom Penh. Sopheak was hop­ing to visit his wife, who is a gar­ment worker in the cap­i­tal, said Keo Thai, head of the Cam­bo­dia Na­tional Res­cue Party’s provin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

“When he ar­rived at Ph­sar Krom [in Kam­pong Chh­nang town] he was stopped and brought to the provin­cial po­lice sta­tion at 1pm,” Thai said. “Then I went there to sign to guar­an­tee them that he would not go to Ph­nom Penh un­til Novem­ber 17.”

At a hear­ing sched­uled for Novem­ber 16, the Supreme Court is ex­pected to rule on a re­quest from the Min­istry of In­te­rior to dis­solve the CNRP, the na­tion’s largest op­po­si­tion party. De­spite wide­spread crit­i­cism of the case, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have re­peat­edly in­sisted the party will in­deed be dis­solved.

Thai added that coun­cil­lors were un­der sur­veil­lance – which is how the po­lice were able to quickly stop him from leav­ing the prov­ince – and equated the sit­u­a­tion to the para­noia of the Pol Pot-led Kh­mer Rouge regime.

Provin­cial au­thor­i­ties have been or­dered by their na­tional coun­ter­parts in re­cent weeks to pre­vent op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers from trav­el­ling to Ph­nom Penh for the CNRP hear­ing. Kam­pong Chh­nang Deputy Po­lice Chief Pol Vuthy yes­ter­day re­fused to an­swer ques­tions as to what le­gal grounds Sopheak was stopped on, or how he was iden­ti­fied as a trav­eller to Ph­nom Penh.

In a sep­a­rate case on Mon­day, Tonghy Tan was ar­rested out­side the Supreme Court for try­ing to hand out leaflets con­tain­ing anti-Hun Sen mes­sag­ing, with po­lice say­ing the man was at­tempt­ing to cre­ate “chaos”.

“He was dis­tribut­ing a lot of crazy and in­cit­ing doc­u­ments,” said Or Kim An, an of­fi­cial at the Na­tional Po­lice sec­re­tar­iat. “He dis­trib­uted the doc­u­ments to cause chaos in so­ci­ety.”

He added that Tan had done the same thing out­side Cal­mette Hos­pi­tal, City Hall and the Royal Palace in early Oc­to­ber but fled to Thai­land, adding that the sus­pect claimed he was not af­fil­i­ated with any party or NGO.

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