Posters bearing the pictures of eight senior leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have been set up at border crossings in Thailand and Malaysia, the president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia said on Wednesday.
Sok Touch said he was crossing the Thai-Malaysian border last week when he saw a poster intended for immigration police featuring the photographs of CNRP “acting president” Sam Rainsy, as well as Mu Sochua, Ho Vann, Ou Chanrith, Men Sothavarin, Long Ry, Tok Vanchan and Eng Chhai Eang.
He said he saw the same poster at the Cambodia-Thailand border when returning to the Kingdom.
According to pictures received by The Post, the words at the bottom of the posters said: “If you find them, arrest them and make a report.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last week that arrest warrants for Rainsy had been sent to all 10 Asean member countries.
Arrest warrants for the eight were issued in March by hnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Koy Sao. They were charged with “conspiracy/plotting” and “incitement to commit a felony” for preparing plans for Rainsy’s return, which the government said amounted to organising a coup and was a terrorist act.
Touch held a press conference on Wednesday at the Royal Academy of Cambodia to make clear to the public, especially supporters of the CNRP and Rainsy, that involvement in their return would only lead to legal action and prison.
He said Rainsy could not return because he had made enemies of King Norodom Sihamoni, Prime Minister Hun Sen, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.
“If Rainsy returns, which amounts to a coup, it will be another thing awaiting him after plotting a coup against the Constitution, a revolution, a colour revolution using ‘people power’ and a terrorist act,” Touch said.
He said he believed that none of the 10 Asean member countries would allow Rainsy to enter Cambodia.
He said supporters of the CNRP and Rainsy should understand the legal and political ramifications and refrain from supporting their actions.
CNRP vice-president Sochua maintained that their plans to return remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, Sea Mao, the deputy chief of legal counsel at the Council of Ministers, said anyone involved in the CNRP who cooperated with the government by reporting Rainsy’s plans would be pardoned.
“For activists and any member of the public who shows good heart and cooperates with the authorities in revealing the conspiratorial plans of the convict Sam Rainsy and his group, the government will pardon them according to Article 454 of Criminal Code.
“In order to successfully smash that illegally organised group and their plans to stage a coup, it is required to have such cooperation,” Mao said.
National Police spokesperson Chhay Kim Khoeun said while he was unaware of the posters featuring the CNRP leadership, if such banners were placed at border crossings then “it was good”.
Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, he said, are Asean countries that had confirmed their cooperation. As for other member nations, he said there might well be some level of assistance.
“Because some countries are under pressure from a superpower, they may think first about their interests,” Kim Khoeun said.