Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fears of arson at CNRP member’s home

Fears of arson at CNRP member’s home

Fears of arson at CNRP member’s home

After first saying a fire that razed the house of an opposition activist in Banteay Meanchey province Friday was caused by an electrical fault, police have resumed their investigation amid claims of arson, a provincial election committee official said.

Hy Kimseng, Banteay Meanchey provincial election committee chief, said he was assisting police in determining the cause of Friday morning’s fire, which burned down the house of Chuo Chen, 57.

“It’s very difficult to sum up exactly what happened, because no clues have been found,” he said.

Chen, a Cambodia National Rescue Party provincial secretary, had complained of receiving death threats before the fire.

The police reinvestigation was prompted by this claim and another that he found sausages and scraps of chicken at the scene, leading him to think his dogs and cats had been poisoned before the blaze.

“My family and I — including my five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter — are worried about our personal security and are hiding,” he said.

Chen, who announced yesterday that he had filed a complaint to the provincial court over the matter, said the first death threat had been delivered July 3, and the second eight days later.

“First, they warned me to stop working for the CNRP or they would kill my family,” he said. “The second time, they called and said, ‘Mr Chen, if you don’t stop working for the CNRP, you, your children and your wife will rest in peace’.”

His comments followed police claims that the fire was not deliberately lit.

Kheng Som, Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief, declined to comment yesterday, but has told local media that an electrical fault caused the fire.

Ke Samphors, provincial CNRP vice president, said he was concerned that police “just want to close the case as soon as possible”.

Som Chankear, a provincial coordinator for human rights group Adhoc, called for a thorough investigation.

“Threats to kill have been made.… this was not an electrical fault,” he said.

Provincial CPP president Oung Oeun declined to comment on the allegations.

MOST VIEWED

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • IPU slams government claim

    The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has refuted a claim by the National Assembly that she “highly appreciated the achievements of Cambodia” in its July national elections with a tweet saying “Of course not!” before adding “No congratulations”. A delegation from

  • Conflict lingers on Paris Accords

    As the Kingdom prepares to commemorate on October 23 the 27th anniversary of the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which ushered in an end to nearly two decades of civil war, there is political conflict on whether the tenets of the agreement are still being

  • EU agrees VN trade deal despite rights concerns

    The EU on Wednesday agreed to a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam, a country described as having a “major rights-abusing government”. This comes amid the 28-nation bloc preparing the procedure for a possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential trade agreement on