Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activists arrested over allegations they were planning "dirty trick"

Activists arrested over allegations they were planning "dirty trick"

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
One of the two opposition activists who were arrested this morning in Tbong Khmum province pose for a photograph with the Vietnamese licence plate bike. Supplied

Activists arrested over allegations they were planning "dirty trick"

Two opposition activists were arrested this morning in Tbong Khmum province after they rode motorbikes with Vietnamese licence plates to a polling station.

Chan Moul Commune Police Chief Khuong Chhordarith confirmed Muon Tabeam, 30, and Roeun Rach, 25, were arrested at 8am.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith, in a post on his Facebook page, said the pair were planning a "dirty trick" by staging a photograph, with the alleged involvement of another activist, aiming to suggest foreigners had cast ballots in the election.

Chhordarith said authorities made a report and confiscated their motorbikes after he learned a picture had been taken, though he had seen no evidence of video or photographs.

"They are Khmer, they are not Vietnamese," he said.

"We arrested them after we learned that they were taking the picture and accusing that Vietnamese people had come to vote."

He said police were looking for the alleged photographer and were unaware if any image had been posted to social media.

He said the motorbikes belonged to them, and admitted that near the border around 40 percent of motorbikes bear Vietnamese plates.

Memot district is about 10 kilometres from the Vietnamese border.

The arrest was confirmed by Vainh Theal, Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) first candidate in Chan Moul commune, Memot district, where the incident occurred.

Theal stressed neither man had taken a photo, and claimed both had merely borrowed motorbikes with Vietnamese plates in order to vote.

"He borrowed someone else's bike ... after he voted, his motorbike was confiscated," he said.

"The two have not taken any picture."

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has long campaigned on deep anti-Vietnamese sentiment and has accused the ruling party of being Vietnamese puppets. During the 2013 national elections, riots broke out in Phnom Penh over suspicions that Vietnamese had voted illegally.

The current government, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, has had deep ties to Vietnam ever since its army, along with Cambodian defectors, overthrew the Khmer Rouge in 1979, installing a Vietnam-backed regime in its place.

Additional reporting by Erin Handley

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Thy Sovantha threatens new suit

    Social media celebrity and card-carrying CPP member Thy Sovantha yesterday said she will file a lawsuit against wildlife NGO head Suwanna Gauntlett alleging discrimination after the latter allegedly denied her access to an ecotourism program the group is launching today in Koh Kong province. The

  • Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

    A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities. A report posted to the

  • Hun Sen’s in-law removed from RCAF after cockfighting rings raided

    Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen who is accused of running two large cockfighting rings, has been removed as a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Phany, formerly a one-star brigadier general, was removed by royal decree on December 19, according to

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially