A member of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party was arrested at the weekend in Takeo province for distributing documents ripped from Facebook that allegedly detail Vietnamese plans to grab Cambodian territory, another party member in the province confirmed yesterday.
Chhea Taing Sorn, the executive deputy president of the party’s branch in Takeo’s Prey Kabbas district, was arrested on Saturday by provincial authorities after he was questioned over his alleged distribution of leaflets on Vietnamese land-grabbing. He is currently detained at the Takeo provincial police station on charges of “disrupting social security”.
“He was accused of [passing out] documents that he took from Facebook about Vietnam,” said Mao Sophal, the CNRP’s executive president in Takeo. “[Police] accused him of affecting social security.”
Sophal added that the CNRP has a strong presence in the district.
“Prey Kabbas almost completely supports [the CNRP],” he said, adding that the party won the district in the 2013 general elections.
Chhea Bunnarith, Taing Sorn’s son, said yesterday that his father, who is a retired teacher, did not actually produce any of the documents but merely printed and distributed them among colleagues.
They supposedly detail “20 kinds” of Vietnamese strategies aimed at land-grabbing in neighbouring Cambodia.
“He is very active in speaking about politics in the district,” he said. “This arrest is aimed at breaking the grassroots spirit. I would like police to work on this case justly and based on law and order.”
Bunnarth added that when his father was detained at the provincial police station his family was not allowed to pay him a visit.
Prey Kabbas district police Chief Chum Khoeun said Taing Sorn was arrested because he copied and distributed documents that could disrupt public order and social security, and that he was sent to the provincial police station based on provincial police chief Ouk Samnang’s orders.
“We inspected [the case] and saw this text affects order and social security,” he said, adding that the documents “could . . . make people misunderstand”.
Samnang could be not reached for comment yesterday.
Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator with local rights group Licadho, maintained yesterday that Taing Sorn had broken no law.
“I think that this is a threat and restricts people’s right to access to information,” he said.