Outraged by the temporary detention of ethnic Khmer Krom newspaper publisher Ly Chhuon in Vietnam last week, the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association have vowed to take action against a government they accuse of systematic spying and unlawful detention.
Chhuon, the publisher of Prey Nokor News, was detained along with his wife, Danh Thi Dieb, and 18-year-old daughter Ly Srey Neath in Vietnam’s An Giang province last Friday during a trip to visit their family for New Year in an area they consider their homeland.
They were released and deported 48 hours later, but Chhuon has alleged that occured only after he was forced to pay a roughly $1,500 bribe.
Kim Sisamna, secretary of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association, said yesterday that his organisation would hold a press conference on Sunday with a handful of victims of the same treatment as Chhuon to highlight the routine discrimination his people were subjected to in Vietnam.
Khmer Krom, ethnic Cambodians who originate from a part of Vietnam that was formerly part of the Khmer empire, have long accused Hanoi of committing serious human rights abuses against them.
Ly Chhuon said yesterday he had been detained because he was travelling on journalist visa by Vietnamese authorities who maintained his wife and daughter had illegally entered the country without passports despite the fact that they each had a legal laissez-passer.
“Vietnam says I write articles criticising the Vietnamese government so they do not let me visit my homeland, and they are afraid I will say something bad or that is not fact,” he said.
Chhoun said he would be filing a complaint to the United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights.
Le Ming Ngoc, spokesman of the Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia, did not respond to inquiries from the Post yesterday.