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

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group