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Layman flees after pagoda raid

Layman flees after pagoda raid

A BUDDHIST layman had fled a pagoda in Kampong Thom’s Sandan district on Friday after a workshop on human rights and protection of natural resources was interrupted by armed police officers, human- rights activists said yesterday.

Kim Muth, 67, a member of the Buddhist Laymans’ Commission at the Kiribeptaram pagoda, and  chief abbot Chim Sinet had been contacted by commune chief Chhouy Mab, who allegedly threatened to arrest them if they continued to allow NGOs to host forums at the pagoda, said Chhim Savuth, forum co-ord- inator for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said.

“This is an attempt by the commune chief to break the spirit of innocent villagers, monks and civil-society organis-ations,” he said.

Chun Yoeun, Kim Muth’s son, confirmed yesterday that his father had “escaped” the pagoda and said he was “living in fear”.

Choouy Mab said yesterday  he had visited the pagoda to advise its leadership to inform him of all future events so secur-ity could be provided.

He said Kim Muth had fled the pagoda because of a dispute with “gangsters” two years ago. He claimed Kim Muth had returned to the pagoda, but CCHR said he was still in hiding.

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