Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Secessionists’ no-show event

‘Secessionists’ no-show event

‘Secessionists’ no-show event


Chea Bamrong (left), vice president of the Association of Democrats, speaks during a press conference on Friday. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Chea Bamrong (left), vice president of the Association of Democrats, speaks during a press conference on Friday. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

A Friday press conference meant to be an act of defiance and a call for justice from the so-called Kratie “secessionists” was conspicuously short on both, as two accused secessionists failed to appear as promised to demand that the government present credible evidence against them.

Instead, more than 100 active members of the Association of Democrats attended the event to publicly disavow that they had any knowledge of the alleged activities of accused secessionist ringleader Bun Ratha and his associates, and to deny government allegations that association president Mam Sonando had ordered Ratha to create an “autonomous zone” in Kratie’s Pro Ma village in May.

“Based on the real facts, we would like to ask the royal government and the public not to be confused that our association’s activities, or our association president, were behind Bun Ratha’s group,” said vice president Chea Bamrong, after expressing concern that the government’s mistaken assumption that the groups were linked might cause them to take action against the association.

Accused secessionist and association member Bun Chhorn, who remained in hiding on Friday, said that his actions, and those of his son Ratha, had nothing to do with the association.

Chhorn, who had promised to attend the conference, said he abstained after being asked to wait until Sonando’s return from a trip abroad.

“I will come to do a press conference with my director on July 16, because I want to show to the government that we are not guilty as they accused,” he said.

Warrants for the alleged secessionists were issued after the forced eviction of roughly 200 families from Pro Ma village by police and military police officers who shot and killed a 14-year-old girl in the process.

Vich Kimchhoan, 72, the association’s Kratie provincial chief since 2011, said that the association had no reason to oppose the government or break the law, and “worked only to educate the people about human rights, freedom and democracy”.

A spokesman for the National Police declined to speak about the case, and Ministry of Interior and Kratie Provincial Court officials could not be reached for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all