A friend of political analyst Kim Sok and another person were arrested on Monday night by Daun Penh district police, hours after Prime Minister Hun Sen had filed a lawsuit against Sok that day.
The friend, Sieng Chin, was released yesterday evening, though the reasons for his arrest remained unclear yesterday.
Sok – who faces a lawsuit accusing him of blaming the ruling Cambodian People’s Party for the July murder of political analyst Kem Ley, which he has denied – said yesterday that Chin, 51, and one of Chin’s friends were arrested after giving him a lift home from Voice of America’s offices.
Sok said that later that night, Chin called him, telling him to stop commenting on the lawsuit and instructing him to meet the prime minister’s eldest son, Lieutenant General Hun Manet, to settle the case. “I rejected his suggestion and told him that I have no contact with Hun Manet, and that I would not change my stance. I will not leave Cambodia. I will . . . confront the complaint in court.”
According to Sok, he later heard about the two arrests from Chin’s brother-in-law, Tuon Saren. Sok said yesterday that he viewed the arrests as an “oppression method on the people” who know him.
Saren said yesterday that police blocked him from talking to his brother-in-law during his detention. “I really worry about this problem,” he said, adding that no one knew the reason for Chin and his friend’s arrest.
Numerous police officers reached yesterday remained tightlipped and would not offer a reason for the arrests. Daun Penh district police chief Huot Chanyaran declined to comment, saying he was busy, and deputy district police chief Hun Nguon said he did not know anything about the case.
Chuon Sovann, Phnom Penh Municipal police chief, could not be reached, while Song Ly, his deputy, said he knew nothing apart from what he’d seen on social media.
Phnom Penh municipality spokesman Met Measpheakdey would only confirm that the arrests took place on Monday night, but said he didn’t know the reasons.
Reached after his release yesterday evening after nearly 24 hours of detention, Chin would only say that authorities arrested him and his friend because they were allegedly driving without a licence or ownership documents.
“Right now, I am alright,” he said, before hanging up.
It remained unclear as of press time whether Chin’s friend had been released.