Further adding to suspicions of widespread phone tapping of government rivals, a new batch of covertly recorded conversations said to feature opposition figures talking discreetly with women have emerged online, including one purportedly of CNRP president Sam Rainsy speaking somewhat flirtatiously with a waitress.
The clips, including one said to feature Rainsy and another allegedly of lawmaker Real Camerin, add to a flurry of leaks in recent weeks by an anonymous anti-opposition Facebook account, and were posted yesterday and Sunday evening respectively.
The first lawmaker to directly address such leaks, Camerin yesterday denied he was the voice in the recording released on Sunday, in which the man makes sexually explicit and degrading remarks to a woman on the call.
“It is not my voice . . . I do not know about the conversation. Some may believe it and others not, but I am not that kind of person,” Camerin said.
Rainsy, who fled to France in 2015 to avoid arrest in a case widely considered political, did not respond to a request for comment.
In text posted with a three-minute clip labelled “part one”, the account’s administrator alleges the CNRP president had tried to woo a waitress from a Western restaurant in Phnom Penh. In the conversation, the man rings late at night a waitress he met earlier in the evening, makes small talk and asks to meet the next weekend.
At least seven Cambodia National Rescue Party members have now been alleged to be the voices in audio recordings released by the account. Among them are Long Ry, Ho Vann, Yem Ponhearith, Eng Chhay Eang and Yim Sovann.
CNRP acting president Kem Sokha was the subject of similar leaks in February last year, which suggested he had an affair with a hairdresser and led to a raft of legal cases against the politician, his colleagues and government critics. On Sunday, Sokha took to Facebook in apparent response to the continued leaks.
“I want to remind that we have many tasks to do,” he wrote, adding there was “no time” for conflict as the party prepared for elections.
Yesterday, the Facebook page for the Volunteer Artists for Social Workers Association, led by prominent model Chorn Chan Leakna, demanded an apology “to all Khmer women” for the “inappropriate words” on the recording linked to Camerin.
But government spokesman Phay Siphan said there were no plans for a probe unless one of those involved complained.
“They can use their right to file a complaint to the court,” Siphan said.
However, if the recordings were genuine, there had been a clear breach of privacy that needed to be investigated, said Ngeth Moses, head of the media unit for NGO Central.
“The law on privacy rights needs to be enforced,” he said, before suggesting people discussing sensitive issues should perhaps “not talk on the phone”.
Calling it a clear “dirty tricks” campaign by the ruling party, however, a CNRP lawmaker, who requested anonymity, said there was little chance of investigation but a high chance of more leaks.
“They’ve got nothing else but to play these dirty tricks, but the more they do it, the more people will get p— about it,” he said. “It shows they record everyone’s conversations and use them as they please.”