Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activist monk ‘in hiding’, says friend

Activist monk ‘in hiding’, says friend

But Buntenh, leader of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, at Kem Ley's funeral in Takeo province earlier this week.
But Buntenh, leader of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, at Kem Ley's funeral in Takeo province earlier this week. Heng Chivoan

Activist monk ‘in hiding’, says friend

But Buntenh, an activist monk and member of the funeral committee for slain political analyst Kem Ley, has gone into hiding after receiving a tip off that he was being hunted by authorities, according to a friend and local media reports.

Tim Malay, head of the Cambodia Youth Network, said he had spoken to his friend Buntenh on the phone at about 3pm yesterday. He said the outspoken founder of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice had told him he was in a “safe place”.

“This is the issue of those who want to threaten freedom of our expression,” Malay said, adding Buntenh was still in Cambodia when he made the call.

It came after a report from outlet Voice of Democracy, which quoted Buntenh as saying he had received a call from an unknown man claiming to be a police officer at 7am yesterday, warning him to go into hiding as police were seeking his arrest.

According to another story by Radio Free Asia yesterday, authorities in Siem Reap province’s Varin district had visited Buntenh’s mother’s home to obtain his birth certificate.

Speaking to RFA, Buntenh said the village chief told his mother that they wanted to make an identification card for him.

Buntenh, local and national authorities were unreachable yesterday. However, on Facebook, the activist monk wrote he was “living in fear”. “I cannot live peacefully in hiding,” he wrote.

Buntenh’s decision to go into hiding comes almost two weeks after activist brothers Chum Huor and Chum Huot, who met Ley a day prior to his murder at a gas station in Phnom Penh, fled the country claiming they feared for their safety.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,