Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man briefly detained over criticism of gov’t

Man briefly detained over criticism of gov’t

Man briefly detained over criticism of gov’t

A man in Kampong Speu’s Oral district was briefly placed under house arrest yesterday, following his public criticism of the government and prime minister at a town hall meeting.

Ung Ny, Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) Oral district executive director, said that 45-year-old Hay Hoeun, a supporter of the opposition party, was told by commune police not leave his Phlov Kor village home for about four hours until police had determined that he had committed no crime.

According to Ny, local Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) activists filed a complaint with the police after Hoeun criticised the government for taking on foreign loans to develop local infrastructure.

“[Hoeun] did not insult anyone, he just expressed his opinion during a meeting in his village; he criticised the government borrowing millions of dollars from foreign countries,” he said, adding that “the police came to Hoeun’s house and asked him not to leave from his house, but he was freed after the police found no evidence against him”.

Buth Bunthoeun, Oral district police chief, yesterday reportedly told local media that police had collected evidence against Hoeun, but in an interview yesterday he denied having made the statements or seeking to arrest any CNRP supporters.

“I don’t have information about Hoeun’s arrest,” Bunthoeun said, before hanging up the phone.

Tep Nam, Trapaing Chor commune chief, said Hoeun allegedly insulted Prime Minister Hun Sen for having a “blind eye” while riding his tractor home from his farm.

“So far, there is no arrest, but the police continue to investigate about his case,” Nam added.

Sok Umsea, a CNRP lawmaker who represents Kampong Speu, was unaware of Hoeun’s case.

Political analyst Ou Virak said yesterday that this degree of crackdown on political speech reflects that “the level of paranoia is actually on the rise”.

“You have a big government whose power is under threat so they will try all they can to hold onto power,” he said, adding that “in the minds of the political elite, politics is a zero-sum, winner-take-all game”.

Virak went on to say incidents such as the day’s events are “to be expected given that the CPP is out to put a lot of pressure on the opposition, including legal and physical harassment . . . It will only get worse as the [2018] election gets closer.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALESSANDRO MARAZZI SASSOON

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese ‘prank’ threat video is no joke for Cambodia

    ‘Preah Sihanouk province, in the next three years, whether safe or chaotic, will be under my control,” declared a Chinese man in a white T-shirt, as another 19 men stood behind him shirtless, in a video that went viral on social media last month. After the

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ABA reports $71.8M net profit

    ABA Bank, a member of the National Bank of Canada group, recorded a net profit of $71.8 million last year, up 55 per cent from $46.2 million in 2017, its annual report released on Monday stated. A rise in the bank’s loan portfolio and the expansion of stated

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in