Twenty-four people have now been arrested on charges of “plotting” and “incitement” since the Ministry of Justice declared Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) “acting president” Sam Rainsy’s plan to return as a coup plot, National Police spokesman Chham Kim Khoeun said.
Two suspected plotters were arrested in Kampong Cham province and four others had arrest warrants issued in Kampong Speu, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey provinces on Wednesday.
Um Yun and former Borseth district councillor candidate Puy Tak were charged in the Kampong Speu Provincial Court on Tuesday. A copy of their arrest warrant said they were charged with “incitement to commit a felony”.
The two were arrested on Wednesday, former CNRP activists told The Post.
Horm Vuthy, who had been charged with “plotting” on October 1, was also arrested on Tuesday for participating “in a plan to topple the government per the plot for the return of Sam Rainsy on November 9,” the Kampong Cham Provincial Court said in a press release.
Siem Reap provincial court on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for Chhun Van, 30, a former councillor for Puok district’s Kdey Run commune in Siem Reap province after he was charged with “plotting” on Tuesday.
The court said the charge “involves Chhun Van posting a message on Facebook from Thailand to gather and mobilise people to participate in a plot to topple the Cambodian government”.
Siem Reap provincial court confirmed that Van’s messages said: “Let’s go back to our country … we who are the children of [Cambodia] have a duty to help the nation.
“Don’t just stand and look [when] the nation faces a disaster … on November 9, 2019, join hands to end Cambodia’s dictatorship . . . November, Nine Fingers Campaign. Help the nation escape from dictator Hun Sen.”
Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court charged Chham Sophann, Phong Socheat, Khun Savran and their accomplices with “plotting” this week. The court said they had gathered and helped people travel to Phnom Penh to participate in toppling the government.
Former CNRP activist Seng Meng Bunrong wrote on social media that 35 alleged CNRP sympathisers had been arrested and placed in pre-trial detention since the beginning of the year. She said a further 60 people have fled to Thailand on fear arrest.
Their arrests come as officials work to diffuse the threat of a Rainsy-backed colour revolution. On Wednesday, Siem Reap and Kratie Provincial Courts held a meeting with provincial authorities on maintaining security over Rainsy’s return.
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng told reporters after a meeting at the ministry on Wednesday that legal measures against Rainsy and those behind his return plans did not threaten freedom of expression.
He said: “People have different opinions, but when their activities support what Sam Rainsy announced, it is illegal. It is beyond the scope [of freedom of expression]. So it is not a threat to the rights of expression.
“They violate the law, insult the King or want to stage a coup through a colour revolution by gathering and mobilising the public to topple the government. It is beyond the scope and an arrest will be made case-by-case.”
Additional reporting by Mech Dara