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Police seek pamphlet-distributing ‘terrorists’

Police in Preah Vihear province are searching for those responsible for distributing anti-government fliers believed printed by a group the prime minister has labelled a terrorist organisation.

Local authorities and military police found some 258 leaflets around Kampong Branak market and adjacent roads in Preah Vihear town yesterday morning, said Preah Vihear provincial police chief Sy Kiry. The fliers were emblazoned with the Khmer National Liberation Front letterhead and signed by its president Sam Serey.

“Those leaflets were aimed to use as the tools to attract the people to join the demonstration on December 10,” Kiry said.

The leaflets also mentioned perceived injustices, noting the unsolved murders of monk Sam Bunthoeun and unionist Chea Vichea.

Six members of the Liberation Front were extradited from Thailand to Cambodia in March, based on a 2012 charge that they had distributed literature in Cambodia that encouraged the formation of an armed resistance aimed at toppling the Cambodian government.

In a speech at the inauguration of a Buddhist school in May, Prime Minister Hun Sen named the Khmer National Liberation Front as one of several groups he described as a carryover from Vietnam-era paramilitary groups. During that speech, he said the Liberation Front and other groups “not only want to change Hun Sen and the CPP, but they [also] want to dissolve the monarchy”.

While he had not seen the leaflets, Eang Vuthy, director of rights group Equitable Cambodia, said no existing laws prevent people from distributing fliers.

“If the fliers call people to use their rights, that’s not illegal,” Vuthy said. “People have the right to do it.”

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