Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Complaint on security forces met with scorn




Complaint on security forces met with scorn

Sarim Sarun, a freelance reporter, walks through a crowd with blood on his face last month after being hit by the municipal security guards at a World Habitat Day march.
Sarim Sarun, a freelance reporter, walks through a crowd with blood on his face last month after being hit by the municipal security guards at a World Habitat Day march. Heng Chivoan

Complaint on security forces met with scorn

Interior Minister Sar Kheng has dismissed as “baseless” a complaint by the opposition party that accuses municipal authorities of using “illegal security forces”, while at the same time threatening to investigate whether the CNRP’s own security arrangements are lawful.

In a letter dated November 17, the deputy prime minister said the use of “people’s defence forces” for the “protection of law and public order” was not prohibited by any legislation, adding such groups did not act as police officers, but provided an “intervention force” to help authorities maintain security.

Kheng’s letter, addressed to National Assembly President Heng Samrin, was a response to a complaint by Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Mu Sochua.

Sochua, who was unreachable yesterday, had criticised the use of “illegal security forces” employed by municipal authorities to crackdown on protesters.

The lawmaker singled out the notoriously violent Daun Penh district security guards, whose head, Cheam Ratha, she said should be punished for a protest crackdown on October 10 in which five people were injured.

However, far from reprimanding the Daun Penh guards, often employed to confront peaceful protests, Kheng said he would instead “examine” the opposition’s security personnel and “issue guidance” if they did not comply with legal standards.

“On the contrary and more seriously, this party has organised many hundreds of security forces in its party, with uniforms and radios . . . without permission from the authorities,” Kheng wrote. “[The party has also] conducted many anarchic activities, including clashes with legal forces of the government.”

The CNRP employs security guards at its Phnom Penh headquarters, where opposition leader Kem Sokha is holed up to avoid arrest.

Responding yesterday, CNRP lawmaker Keo Phirum said that their security broke no laws.

“They don’t carry arms or any weapons and they never harm the public or anyone,” Phirum said, adding they were there for a “good reason”.

“We are just trying to protect our leader.”

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,