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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CFF manhunt goes house to house

CFF manhunt goes house to house

Post Staff

Phnom Penh Municipal Police and Gendarmarie units are conducting city-wide searches

of rental properties and guest houses in search of suspected members of the Cambodian

Freedom Fighters (CFF).

The search has been initiated in the Sras Chork commune near the Phnom Penh railway

station, from where armed gunmen subsequently identified as CFF members led a Nov

24 attack against government buildings.

Touch Sarin, Chief of Sras Chork police station, refers to a wall of fifty-one photographs

of alleged CFF members provided to him by "high level officials" when asked

who Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Chea Sophara has instructed he and his men to hunt

down.

"We are searching for CFF suspects, underground weapons and people who are living

[in Phnom Penh] illegally," Sarin said.

The "most wanted" are a mixed bag - a former member of Prince Ranariddh's

bodyguard unit, a former CPP Minister of Health, a Sam Rainsy Party activist from

Pailin and a Kandal Province police officer.

Coinciding with the manhunt is an official household registration campaign.

"We have invited illegal residents to our police station for education,"

Sarin said. "We tell them that they should report to local authorities whenever

they move in order to eliminate suspicions. We also ask them for their photos."

Sarin acknowledged that there is no law requiring people from out of town to register

when they move to the Phnom Penh. Though his officers have no warrants requiring

residents to come to the station for interrogation and registration, he says this

is "a special case."

Men Krey, a 35-year-old laborer from Prey Veng who rents a house near the railway

station says the current police manhunt has created an atmosphere of intimidation.

"Friends from the provinces who did not have identification papers, have fled

Phnom Penh for fear that police might link them with the CFF," said Krey.

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