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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy activists framed for rocket attack, says SRP

Rainsy activists framed for rocket attack, says SRP

Kung Bun Heang, a Sam Rainsy Party activist in Battambang accused of involvement

in the rocket attack in Siem Reap last September

ICONSISTENCIES in the arrest procedures and evidence against two Sam Rainsy Party

activists charged in connection with the September 24, 1998, Siem Reap rocket attack

are being described by SRP members as proof of a concerted attempt by the ruling

CPP to destroy the party in the run-up to the mid-2000 Commune Elections.

The arrest of SRP activist Mong Davuth in Siem Reap on September 3 was followed by

the arrest of Battambang SRP activist Kang Bun Heang on September 12.

However, a human rights worker has confirmed that a check of prison records showed

that Bun Heang was serving a prison sentence for weapons possession in Battambang

at the time of the rocket attack.

"He's definitely on the prison registration list," a human rights worker

told the Post. "He was in prison between September 4, 1998 and October 8, 1998."

Evidence against Mong Davuth appears equally questionable. On Sep 16 copies of two

letters reportedly confiscated by police from Mong Davuth's home were released to

the media by SRP party officials.

One of the two letters, dated Sep 30, 1998 and written on Sam Rainsy Party letterhead

makes oblique, enigmatic references to the "problem in the flower bush on the

street" which "... must not be discussed openly".

The rocket that exploded in Siem Reap was hidden behind high bushes and was detonated

by remote-control.

The letters list a Bangkok mobile phone number for Davuth to call in order for the

sender to "come to you immediately".

A human rights worker who has seen the letters is skeptical about their legitimacy.

"It's not difficult to get a copy of [SRP] letterhead and forge a letter,"

the source said. "If this will be used as evidence [against Davuth], it's not

very convincing."

Human rights workers and SRP officials also express uneasiness over the fact that

Heang and Davuth's cases are being handled by the military court. "These guys

aren't soldiers," one SRP official told the Post. "Why is the military

court involved?"

SRP officials describe the arrest of Heang and Davuth as part of a "conspiracy"

by senior CPP military officials to discredit the SRP.

"This is a set-up", SRP Secretary-General Meng Rita told the Post. "The

Government wants to destroy the Sam Rainsy Party because Sam Rainsy always talks

about the necessity for an international trial [of former Khmer Rouge leaders] and

the problem of impunity in Cambodia."

Lon Phon, SRP National Assembly member for Battambang, was equally indignant about

the validity of legal charges facing SRP activists.

Auk Sary: Rainsy insider admits to spying for military

"I would like to clarify that all of this happened as part of a plot to falsify

the involvement of the Sam Rainsy Party in the 1998 Siem Reap rocket attack,"

Phon said. "The Government wants to intimidate all Sam Rainsy Party activists

who are planning on participating in the upcoming Commune Elections."

Rita says the campaign against the SRP originates in the very highest levels of the


"Mol Roeup, an advisor to Hun Sen and Chief of Military Intelligence Section

Q101, is conspiring to connect the [1998 Siem Reap] rocket attack with five members

of the Sam Rainsy Party in Battambang," Rita charges.

According to SRP officials in Phnom Penh and Battambang, military "spies"

within the SRP in Battambang have spearheaded a campaign since Sep 4 to arrest and

intimidate SRP activists in the province.

"On September 4 and September 5, three former members of the Sam Rainsy Party

led military police units in attempts to arrest Sam Rainsy Party activists Kang Bun

Heang, Sok Yeun and Pol Sameth in Battambang," Phon said.

According to Phon, Auk Sary, former Security Chief of SRP Battambang, Adbul Karim,

Deputy District Chief of SRP Battambang and Pol Mindred, an SRP security guard, had

been recently expelled from the party due to concern that they were "military


"On August 4 those three men claimed that they had been arrested by the military

in Battambang, but my investigation showed that they had in fact gone willingly with

military personnel," Phon said of the chain of events that led to the dismissal

of the three.

"They got together to make plans to get money from the CPP to make trouble [for

the SRP]."

The Secretary-General of the SRP in Battambang, Dep Yuen, is even more explicit in

his accusations against the three former SRP members, claiming that an internal SRP

investigation of the three revealed that each of the men was being paid between $20

and $30 a month to act as "spies".

The participation of Sary and Karim in arrest attempts made against SRP activists

in Battambang on Sep 4 and Sep 5 appear to support accusations that at least two

of the men have close ties with military police in Battambang.

In an interview with the Post at SRP headquarters in Phnom Penh three days before

his arrest on Sep 12, Bun Heang complained of "illegal and improper" conduct

by Battambang military police led by Sary and Karim.

Bun Heang told the Post that Auk Sary, former security chief of the SRP in Battambang

and Abdul Karim, former deputy district chief of SRP Battambang, led three truckloads

of military police to his home at 10:30pm on Sep 4.

"Abdul Karim entered my home carrying a handgun and a grenade and told me to

follow him out of the house," Bun Heang said. "He wanted me to confess

to what happened in Siem Reap last year."

While Bun Heang was able to escape out the back door of his house, his wife has charged

that three men who searched the house after Bun Heang's departure walked off with

a quantity of gold jewelry.

That same evening, Abdul Karim led a group of military police to the home of SRP

activist Sok Yuen. Like Bun Heang, Yuen escaped arrest by slipping out of the back

of the house to safety.

"When Abdul Karim discovered my father wasn't here, he was very angry,"

Yuen's daughter told the Post in a Sep 10 interview. "He told the military police

that if they saw my father [outside the house] the should shoot him in the leg, drag

him to the street and kill him.

At 10:00pm on Aug 5 the home of a third SRP activist, Pol Sameth, was surrounded

by military police who repeatedly demanded that Sameth surrender himself to their


Both Sameth and Yeun have since gone into hiding within Battambang.

Phon said the attempted arrests were completely illegal. "Police aren't empowered

to arrest someone at their home late at night," Phon explained. "Also,

the police refused to show arrest warrants for any of the men."

Military police officials in Battambang were unavailable for comment.

However Auk Sary freely admitted being a spy for the Battambang provincial military

authorities for more than a year.

In an interview with the Post in Battambang on Sep10, Sary conceded that he had been

a "witness of the government" since July 1998.

Sary attributed his decision to spy on the Sam Rainsy Party to "deep disillusionment"

resulting from "an attempted bomb attack" by SRP activists in Battambang

during the 1998 election campaign.

According to Sary, SRP activists in Battambang were responsible for planting a mine

in a vehicle taking part in an SRP election procession.

"Their purpose was to foment turmoil," Sary explained. "They wanted

to kill SRP supporters and then blame the deaths on the CPP."

Sary has no hesitation in attributing the bomb attempt to the highest level of the


"The order [to place the mine] must have come from Phnom Penh and Sam Rainsy


Sary said military police informed him of the plot and allowed him to prevent the

mine's detonation.

Sary adds that Sok Yuen, Duon Chiet (Chairman of SRP Battambang) and Kia Cheat (a

SRP activist currently in Tbeng Meanchay) were at the time charged with the crime

but released "due to lack of evidence".

Nonsense, says Duon Chiet, brandishing news clippings and copies of a CMAC report

on Sary's alleged "bombing attempt".

"During the procession some troublemakers grabbed a bag from a CMAC vehicle

and placed it in a Sam Rainsy Party vehicle, but the devices [in the bag] weren't

explosives and I've never been arrested in my life."

Duon Chiet: set up for a fall?

The CMAC document supports Chiet's explanation, describing the devices as "M60

Weatherproof Blasting Fuses" to be used as a substitute for matches "in

wet and rainy circumstances".

Although insisting that his spying days are over, Sary warns that the worst is yet

to come for Battambang SRP activists.

"All the offenders will be known soon," he said, adding that Duon Chiet,

Kia Cheat and Sok Yuen would shortly be facing charges with Bun Heang and Davuth

for the Siem Reap rocket attack. "Witnesses will prove that they were connected

[to the attack]."

Meanwhile, Dep Yuen says that the arrests of Bun Heang and Davuth and the threats

made by Sary have had a devastating effect on the approximately 600 SRP members in


"Everyone in Battambang is very afraid," Yuen told the Post from the relative

safety of the Sam Rainsy Party Phnom Penh headquarters. "People are leaving

town or going into hiding because they're afraid of what might happen to them."



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