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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition journalists fear secret police are watching

Opposition journalists fear secret police are watching


Their colleague was assassinated, their editor-in-chief left the country, now they feel they’re being monitored by police


Dam Sith is seen in a car’s rearview mirror as he leaves Prey Sar prison in June. He has since left the country.

TWO reporters from the opposition-aligned newspaper Moneaksekar Khmer fear that police are conducting a secret investigation of their activities, one of the reporters told the Post on Monday.

Vong Sopheak and his brother, Vong Sopheap, both journalists at the newspaper, said a group of men followed and photographed them during a demonstration on Sunday in front of the Free Trade Union offices to protest the presence of Thai soldiers at the Preah Vihear temple complex.

"A journalist at the event told me the men asked about me and wanted to know what newspaper I worked for," Vong Sopheap said. "They already knew we worked for Moneaksekar Khmer."

The brothers claim that they have been followed since July 12, when they took part in a celebration of slain Moneaksekar Khmer journalist Khim Sambo, who was gunned down with his son a day earlier. A group of plainclothes men took several photographs of them during the event, according to Vong Sopheap.

The same group of men followed the brothers during the trade union demonstration, Vong Sopheap said, adding that he and his brother argued with the men when they began taking pictures of them and demanded that the photos be deleted.

Formal complaint needed

Touch Naruth, head of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, said that if the journalists were being intimidated or harassed, they should file a formal complaint. Until they did so, there was nothing that he could do.

"The police have no policy of photographing people, except to document illegal activities and to keep as evidence in case of a complaint against police," said Touch Naruth.

"We have no need to photograph Moneaksekar Khmer journalists. There is nothing to see there."

Dam Sith, editor-in-chief of Moneaksekar Khmer, left the country August 5 for the United States.

He was arrested in June on charges of defamation and spreading disinformation over an article from April 18 linking Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong to the Khmer Rouge. He served one week in prison before Prime Minister Hun Sen requested his release on bail.



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