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

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • Is Cambodia’s microfinance sector running its course?

    Economic growth and the strength of the banking system might have prompted a slow decline of the microfinance segment that has been raising a population ‘The MFI business model is over,” opined David Van, a Cambodian investment expert, recently. He felt that in a couple