Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry to punish fraudsters who ink finger without voting

Ministry to punish fraudsters who ink finger without voting

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany (left) show their inked fingers after casting their ballots at a polling station in Kandal province during commune elections on June 4, 2017. TANG CHHIN SOTHY/afp

Ministry to punish fraudsters who ink finger without voting

Government officials have threatened that those who boycott the coming election but ink their fingers to indicate they had voted will face punishment according to the law. But analysts and opposition figures say that there is no applicable law relating to such an issue.

Kim Santepheap, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Justice, said on Wednesday that those who fake having voted will face penalties according to criminal law.

The threat was an obvious reference to the former leader of the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, Sam Rainsy, who called for a boycott of the July 29 national elections.

He is quoted by Fresh News as saying: “Faking having voted by inking the finger is an ill-intentioned act meant to cause confusion about the real number of voters. It will lead to having more voters than the actual ballot papers.

“This action causes the confusion that there is an irregularity in the election which further promotes chaos in society.

“The above action is against the law, with the penalty of going to jail, according to the Criminal Code,” he said, without specifying the articles people would be arrested under.

Santepheap did not respond to queries raised by The Post on Wednesday. But his statement was welcomed by Interior Ministry spokesperson, Khieu Sopheak.

“We will let them work on how to approach this issue. Maybe he found a law which can be enforced because he is good with legal issues.

“We, the Ministry of Interior, are waiting to enforce the law. We will enforce it immediately. We will wait to be told about the law by the Ministry of Justice,” Sopheak said on Wednesday.

Mu Sochua, former CNRP deputy president, asked what law would be applied and claimed the move to take criminal action is unconstitutional.

“I believe the Cambodian People’s Party is afraid of the power of the people who will boycott the election,” she said on Wednesday.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said there could be no penalty without a law. He said a legal officer, like Santepheap, is required to base a charge on specific legal provisions.

“Otherwise, his statement would inevitably be seen as a threat or coercion to compel people to vote, if not being just a lie,” Hay said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said