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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - K Krom monk denies role in Takeo leaflets

K Krom monk denies role in Takeo leaflets

AN ethnic Khmer Krom monk who says authorities are accusing him of distributing leaflets that deride the January 7 anniversary commemorating the fall of the Khmer Rouge said he has gone into hiding to flee arrest.

Liv Phally, 32, said that he and four other Khmer Krom monks – members of Vietnam’s Khmer minority – were accused by authorities of distributing leaflets that ridicule the government’s celebration of January 7.

“I am living in fear and am hiding because the accusation against me is serious and it is linked to Prime Minister Hun Sen,” Liv Phally said Sunday by phone, denying any involvement in distributing the leaflets. “I don’t even know the meaning of the leaflets.”

The anonymous leaflets caused a stir when police in Takeo province reported their discovery just days before January 7. A copy of one of the leaflets obtained by the Post asserted that January 7, 1979, should not be celebrated as a day of liberation, but rather remembered as the day that Cambodia became “abused and occupied” by neighbouring Vietnam.

An Interior Ministry official confirmed authorities were investigating the leaflets, but said officials have not threatened any Khmer Krom monks.

“They are scaring themselves,” said Major General Chhay Sinarith, director of the Internal Security Department at the Ministry of Interior. “We are still investigating this case and have not yet identified any suspects.”

However, one advocate for the Khmer Krom community said the allegations are strikingly similar to a 2006 case in which three Khmer Krom were arrested and accused of distributing anti-Hun Sen leaflets.

“I’m afraid that some Khmer Krom people are blamed,” said Ang Chanrith, the former executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organisation.

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