Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Breaking: Former RFA reporters detained by police

Breaking: Former RFA reporters detained by police

Former RFA reporters Oun Chhin (centre) and Yeang Sothearin (rear right, blue shirt) were detained overnight by police in Phnom Penh.
Former RFA reporters Oun Chhin (centre) and Yeang Sothearin (rear right, blue shirt) were detained overnight by police in Phnom Penh. CAM POST

Breaking: Former RFA reporters detained by police

Two former Radio Free Asia reporters were detained last night in Phnom Penh and are being questioned this morning at a Meanchey district guesthouse where they were allegedly trying to set up a karaoke production studio.

District officials yesterday claimed that the KTV studio was illegal because the duo, Oun Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, did not have the requisite permissions, despite the fact that the fledgling studio hadn't even begun operations. Local media reports suggested the arrests were in relation to their sending news reports to RFA headquarters in the US.

The US-funded radio broadcaster shuttered its in-country operations in September after a crackdown on independent radio stations broadcasting their programming made it “impossible” for them to continue in the Kingdom. Since then the government has said reporters associated with the broadcaster will not be given press passes to report in the country.

Meanchey District Police Chief Ten Sino claimed he could not confirm the reason for the pair's arrest because the matter was with the Phnom Penh Municipal Police. Another police officer, who requested anonymity, said the duo had been questioned overnight and had maintained they did not work for RFA, but that police had evidence to suggest otherwise.

Deputy Meanchey District Governor Dy Roth Khemrun this morning confirmed that the duo were now back at the Marady guesthouse in Meanchey district for further questioning with Phnom Penh court Deputy Prosecutor Oum Sopheak.

“Even in the case there is complete permission from all relevant ministries [for the studio], if they still do activities that are not registered, they will be responsible in front of the law,” read Khemrun’s report from last night.

RFA spokesman Rohit Mahajan confirmed the radio outlet was aware of the detention and was deeply concerned the incident could constitute “harassment of former RFA journalists”.

Updates to follow.

Reporting by Niem Chheng, Mech Dara, Kong Meta and Ananth Baliga

MOST VIEWED

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Fish, frogs to boost local food supply

    The government has disbursed more than $4.5 million to boost aquaculture production and domestic market supply amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon told The Post on Monday that in boosting agricultural production, the ministry has received financing from development partners

  • Planning ministry hands out cash to 420,000 poor families in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Planning has identified 20,000 more poor families in the country, bringing the total to over 580,000, while over 420,000 of them have received the government’s cash assistance. In the meantime, many social security cards from families not deemed to be poor have been revoked.

  • Nature in focus at inaugural film and photo festival

    The first Cambodian Wildlife Photo and Film Festival – an event celebrating the conservation of nature through the eyes of wildlife photographers, nature enthusiasts and conservation experts – is scheduled for July 18-26 at Fauna in Focus’ Nature Discovery Centre in Siem Reap. The festival will be