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PM says senator’s arrest averted ‘serious chaos’

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday used a live television speech to justify the arrest of opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour over a Facebook post while also calling for his “conspirators” to return from hiding in Thailand and confess their crimes.

Appearing on TVK yesterday, the premier said the government had taken action against the Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker to prevent social unrest, avert a civil war and stop a potential conflict with Vietnam.

Sok Hour, seized by armed police on August 15, has been charged with forgery and incitement for posting on Facebook a “fake” version of a 1979 border treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam purporting to show the countries agreeing to dissolve their national borders.

“This act was aimed at provoking anger among the people and causing a rift in national solidarity and unification and creating hostility between nations that could cause serious chaos to social security if it had not been prevented in time,” Hun Sen said.

The premier also called on people who had allegedly conspired with Sok Hour and fled to Bangkok to return and confess to authorities, warning the investigation was continuing.

Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann strongly rejected the premier’s claims.

“I don’t see any turmoil created by Hong Sok Hour; he is a senator of Cambodia, he has immunity, he has the right to speak and he cares for his country,” Sovann said.

Sovann declined to comment on whether any opposition members had fled to Thailand.

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