Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Investigation continues in anti-government shirt case



Investigation continues in anti-government shirt case

A Khmer People Power Movement supporter wears a newly printed shirt bearing the party slogan in Battambang province
A Khmer People Power Movement supporter wears a newly printed shirt bearing the party slogan in Battambang province. KPPM

Investigation continues in anti-government shirt case

The owner of a Siem Reap printing shop and one of his staff remained in police custody yesterday after the business was raided on Monday night for printing polo shirts with anti-election slogans.

Five hundred shirts of a 1,000-piece order from the Khmer People Power Movement – a US-based, self-proclaimed “civil political movement” – were seized by police and a court prosecutor that evening.

Two alleged Khmer People Power Movement activists were also arrested in Banteay Meanchey province on the same day for transporting the same shirts along with KPPM logo-emblazoned watches and radios meant for donation to villagers.

Siem Reap Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Chhoun Sophanha said the investigation was ongoing and that authorities in Siem Reap were working with those in Banteay Meanchey.

“We are cooperating to find out who [exactly] are the members of [the KPPM],” he said.

He added that police were questioning the Siem Reap arrestees to determine whether they were simply carrying out a commercial order or if they are members of the KPPM.

The movement has previously been likened to a terrorist group by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

KPPM head Suon Serey Ratha told the Post yesterday that the Banteay Meanchey arrestees, whom he identified as KPPM activists Buon Long and Seng Sok Meng, were supposed to be transporting the items to villages in Malai and other districts.

“We deliver T-shirts all over the country, not just in Banteay Meanchey but in Kampot, Takeo, Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Ratanakkiri, Mondolkiri and other places,” he said, adding however, that many KPPM activists in the Kingdom were “living in fear”.

Hong Chantha, the wife of Seng Sok Meng, said she was taken to the police station with her husband for questioning after police raided their Poipet home and found some of the items.

“My husband worked as a tour guide for foreigners and also as a delivery man for some businesses, but I am not sure if he was involved in any political party,” she said.

KPPM head Ratha said his group had been in contact with the men’s families and had written to foreign embassies and NGOs for support. He added that despite the raid on the Siem Reap shop, the KPPM would continue to print the offending shirts in Phnom Penh.

A decision to release the print shop arrestees could occur overnight, Sopanha said, though it was likely to be delayed until today.

Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Kheng Sum said he could not comment on the arrests, but his deputy Khoun Bunhong said that three people, not two, were arrested on Monday, before declining to comment further.

A number of local police officials also refused to comment on the case.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY VONG SOKHENG AND CHHAY CHANNYDA

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants