Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Coup inciter’ was in my unit, says army brass

‘Coup inciter’ was in my unit, says army brass

Som Sovanara, who the government accuses of attempting to incite a coup, is shown in a screengrab from a videotaped message. Facebook
Som Sovanara, who the government accuses of attempting to incite a coup, is shown in a screengrab from a videotaped message. Facebook

‘Coup inciter’ was in my unit, says army brass

The Ministry of Defence and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) have offered conflicting accounts as to whether a Cambodian living in Canada, Som Sovanara, who allegedly called for a coup on YouTube, ever served in the Cambodian military.

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said the RCAF had searched through its rosters but found no trace of Sovanara, who sent an image of what he said was his army ID card to a Post reporter yesterday.

“His name wasn’t on the list of 100,000 soldiers . . . He faked it in order to cause chaos,” Socheat said. “I am checking on this issue of where he got the documents from.”

However, Lieutenant General Srey Deuk, commander of RCAF Intervention Division Three, yesterday said he took Sovanara on as a soldier for less than half a year in late 2011 to make use of his computer skills.

However, Deuk said Sovanara had never signed a contract.

Sovanara told the Post last week that he was granted asylum by Canada in 2013. However, Socheat said the Defence Ministry was optimistic Sovanara would be apprehended.

“We have many procedures [available to us]. His home was here, his relatives live here. He flew away, but he left his nest. We have our ways and we are working on it,” Socheat said. “If we did not have hope, we would not do this.”

Phnom Penh Municipal Court administrator Y Rin said yesterday that a prosecutor had been assigned to Sovanara’s case but denied knowing any further details. Court spokesman Ly Sophana could not be reached for comment.

In a message yesterday, Sovanara said he was not worried about getting arrested, but would not surrender.

“If the courts had independence and justice I would come to answer at the court,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Tina rebuffs ‘false claims’ over falling paddy price

    Agriculture minister Dith Tina has shed light on the trade of paddy rice in Battambang – Cambodia’s leading rice-producing province – in a bid to curb what he dubs a “social media fact distortion campaign” to destabilise the market. While acknowledging that the prices of paddy

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm