An opposition activist in Siem Reap province’s Varin district said he has fled his home upon receiving word that men in military dress were asking about his whereabouts after he spoke to the press about allegations of military corruption stuffed into a ballot box on Election Day.
Cambodia National Rescue Party district working group chief Chhoeum Bun Chung said yesterday that he had received a phone call informing him that two men wearing what appeared to be military fatigues had been looking for him at his home on July 31.
The news came after Bun Chung had spoken to the media about a letter from an anonymous soldier written on the back of a ballot asking Prime Minister Hun Sen for intervention in what the soldier described as a system of salary kickbacks and land grabs perpetuated by his unit’s superiors.
“They asked about me, about what I was telling the media about the number of soldiers that voted, and about the letter about corruption among the border soldier commanders,” Bun Chung said yesterday.
He added that the soldiers had reportedly said that if he wanted “more good information about soldiers, please come to the military office”.
Bun Chung said he was too scared to return to his home, as was his family.
“I’m waiting to see what happens next,” he said.
The latest allegations mark the second time he has been intimidated, Bun Chung said. Four days before the election campaign started, he maintained, his cousin’s brother – a Cambodian People’s Party activist – told him to “be careful”.
Chhuy Vantha, a human rights investigator for Licadho, said she and an Adhoc officer had gone to Varin to investigate on Friday after receiving complaints from Bun Chung.
“We asked people there, but no one saw the two men, and we informed authorities about this,” she said, adding that Bun Chung’s wife was even more scared after finding someone’s footprints on the floor inside her home.
Deputy Lvea Kraing commune police chief Leng Leun said he had asked Bun Chung’s neighbours about the incident, but they “did not see anyone asking for him, and we do not have political discrimination here”.