Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Charges for detained monks

Charges for detained monks

Monks Khith Vannak (left) and Sang Kosal (right) appeared at the Phnom Penh Muncipal Court
Monks Khith Vannak (left) and Sang Kosal (right) appeared at the Phnom Penh Muncipal Court yesterday. Hong Menea

Charges for detained monks

Two monks were charged in court yesterday for allegedly taking flags and bamboo poles on Wednesday to the Samaki Rainsy pagoda, where a group of land-eviction protesters was staying.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge Nou Veasna said the two monks, Khith Vannak, 20, and Sang Kosal, 19, were charged under article 499 of the criminal code for alleged “participation in criminal association”.

“I am still working on their case,” Veasna said, declining to comment further.

The two monks were arrested outside the pagoda on Wednesday.

Charges against them follow a crackdown in the capital this week that has resulted in 10 activists and a monk being arrested and sentenced to one year in prison. Two opposition officials have also been arrested.

Speaking to reporters after their hearing, the two vigorously denied any wrongdoing.

“I did not break any law”, Vannak said. “I just carried the bamboo poles with the national and religious flags to Samaki Rainsy pagoda.”

Vannak complained about the manner in which police officers defrocked him at the station.

“Their activities were very bad, a violation of rights. They have defrocked me without reason. But I will be a monk again when I am released.”

Kosal said his arrest was unjust, and asked to be released.

The two men are Khmer Krom monks from Stung Meanchey pagoda in the capital’s Meanchey district.

Monks at Samaki Rainsy told the Post on Wednesday that the two monks had been involved in Kampuchea Krom protests in the capital last month. Vietnamese flags were burned during the heated demonstrations.

The week of arrests began on Monday when seven female Boeung Kak activists were taken in for using a bed to block traffic on Monivong Boulevard. The activists were protesting against flooding around their homes – something they blame on officials responsible for filling in Boeung Kak lake.

A judge took barely three hours to try and convict the women under article 78 of the traffic law on Tuesday and jailed them each for one year.

Four people – three land activists and one monk – were arrested outside the court on Tuesday as the seven women were questioned. With similar swiftness, a judge convicted them of inciting violence against public authority and jailed them, also for one year. The cases have drawn strong criticism from rights groups.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • 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