Police in Battambang province arrested an opposition CNRP official and sent him to the provincial court today on accusations of illegal weapons possession, despite one officer admitting that they have not actually found the weapon he is accused of owning.
Chet Vanny, deputy provincial police chief, said Samlot District Police arrested Cambodia National Rescue Party Commune Councillor Ouch Sha last night.
“I received a report from the Samlot police,” he said, noting that the report contained an accusation from other villagers that Sha was in possession of an AK-47.
But a Samlot District Police officer, who asked not to be identified, admitted the authorities did not actually find a gun during their search, though he said they would search again, and were confident they would find it “next time”.
However, Oum Pich, leader of the CNRP in Samlot, said the accusations were made by villagers who had been involved in a family dispute with relatives of Sha, and were totally fabricated.
"[Sha] did not have a gun," he said.
Pich also accused police of treating Sha unfairly because of his affiliation with the CNRP, which has been the target of a months-long government crackdown that could result in its dissolution at a Supreme Court hearing tomorrow.
"The police did not have a court warrant, but they just charged him at home. The threat to [the CNRP] will make people in the village afraid,” Pich said.
Teang Sambo, spokesman for the provincial court, said the court has received the case and will continue to investigate the accusations.