Two opposition activists in Siem Reap’s Bakong district were arrested yesterday on accusations of inciting villagers to protest a new committee to support boating tourism.
The two – Hong Nak and Choun Sek – live in Meanchey commune and are themselves involved in the boat tour sector.
Heng Choa Say, a Bakong district councilman from the Cambodia National Rescue Party, said yesterday that more than 20 police were dispatched to arrest Hong Nak and Choun Sek, claiming they did so without a warrant.
“They are CNRP activists, but their motives related to the protest were not political,” he said.
“They wanted to join the election to choose a boat tourism committee, but authorities only allowed people from Kampong Phluk to participate in the election.
[The accused] said it was unfair because villagers from other communes also had a right to do business at the tourism site.”
On June 27, a violent demonstration broke out in the district after more than 300 villagers turned out to vote on the committee.
Kampong Phluk Police Chief Ly Sok, however, said that authorities did have warrants for the men, and more villagers would be rounded up over the protest.
“We did not break the law. We had a court warrant to arrest them,” he said.
Chan Van, a village resident, said: “The two arrested men did not tell villagers that they were with the CNRP.”