Toul Kork district authorities in Phnom Penh confiscated two books written by the court-dissolved Cambodian National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) lawyer Yem Ponhearith.
The books were seized from vendors located along the Santhor Mouk High School area on Saturday.
Toul Kork district’s Tek La’ak 1 commune chief Pech Sokhoeun said officials confiscated 54 copies of the two books that were published without the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts’ approval.
“I don’t know the exact contents of the books written by Yem Ponhearith. They said the ministry did not give permission to publish those books. Vendors said they will stop selling them,” he said.
The two books titled Human Value and Vision for National Reconciliation and Social Restoration were written in the Khmer language and published in France this year.
However, Toul Kork district police chief Hun Sothy declined to comment and referred the matter to Ek Khun Doeun, Toul Kork district governor, who also did not wish to make any statement regarding the seizure.
Ministry spokesperson Thai Norak Satya said he was not aware of the incident but added that the ministry’s prior approval is needed before any book can be published.
“I don’t think all books published abroad have obtained the ministry’s permission. If the book’s contents are fine, then it is okay. But authorities would check some books to ensure they do not harm the peace in Cambodia,” he said.
Books that ‘provoke revenge’
Satya said authorities would confiscate any book which poses a threat to national security, has political motives or could encourage people to seek any form of revenge against the government.
“Action will be taken on any book which has contents that threaten public security and provoke people inside or outside the country to take revenge against the government."
“We want to maintain harmony and protect the welfare of our people. If [a publication] causes national distress, action should be taken,” he said.