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

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the