Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bombs make SRP wary




Bombs make SRP wary

Bombs make SRP wary

Senior government officials have said they will not jump to any conclusions about

the alleged planting of three time- bombs in Siem Reap, but will instead concentrate

on thoroughly investigating the case before commenting.

That comes in the wake of comments from police officers that were reported in the

press stating that the attack had political overtones. Such talk alarmed politicians

and observers alike.

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) said it was watching the case closely, out

of concern that the foiled attack could be a prelude to a wider crackdown ahead of

the general election scheduled for July 2003.

Co-Minister of Interior You Hokry told the Post that the police investigation was

continuing. Seven people had so far been arrested on suspicion of planting the three

time bombs, which were packed with TNT explosive.

"I cannot say whether it is [related to] a political issue or if it is a terrorism

act," said Hokry. "Those who were arrested said they were hired to plant

the bombs."

Khieu Kanharith, secretary of state of the Ministry of Information, also said the

government had as yet drawn no conclusions, and would not do so until the investigation

was wrapped up.

The police found the bombs on the evening of December 15 in a brothel in the city,

Kanharith said, and they were later defused by a demining expert.

If the bombs had exploded, that would have coincided with a meeting of ministers

from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, who were in Siem Reap to discuss

rural development. Prime Minister Hun Sen also attended the conference Dec 16.

Opposition MP Son Chhay, who represents Siem Reap, speculated that the bombs might

instead have been designed to intimidate the SRP ahead of the general election.

"Such events always happen before [each] election," said Chhay. "[For

instance] the July 5 - 6 coup d'etat in 1997, and the Cambodian Freedom Fight-er's

attack [in November 2000] prior to the commune elections."

He said similar acts had occurred in other countries to crack down on political opponents.

"They set up such activities to crack down on dissidents," said Chhay.

"They arrest those who are against them and put them in prison."

The SRP added that a party member who was reportedly arrested in connection with

the bombs was in fact arrested for an unrelated offense.

MOST VIEWED

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • Vietnamese land-grabbers held

    Following a provincial court order, Ratanakkiri Military Police on April 16 arrested 12 Vietnamese nationals accused of crossing the border into Cambodia and illegally clearing forest land. The accused are now being detained at Phnom Svay prison in the province. Ratanakkiri military police commander Thav Yen told

  • Eight people sent to court over violent protest

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities on Sunday sent eight people to court for blocking National Road 4 and using violence against authorities in a land dispute in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune. Four police officers and two commune security guards sustained injuries when the protesters