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'Mon Srey' denies Sokha affair

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Khem Chandaraty, aka Mon Srey, speaks to reporters last night at the Phnom Penh headquarters of rights group Adhoc. Niem Chheng Niem Chheng

'Mon Srey' denies Sokha affair

The woman identified as Kem Sokha’s purported mistress in a series of recorded phone calls spoke publicly for the first time yesterday, denying that she was the voice heard in the recordings or that she had had an affair with the CNRP deputy president.

Khem Chandaraty sought help from rights group Adhoc yesterday evening after being summonsed twice by police over a defamation complaint arising from tapes released last week, in which she is identified as “Mon Srey”.

“I know nothing about it,” said Chandaraty, denying the voice was hers.

“They said that I am his mistress; I am not his mistress. [They say] that I have love affairs with him, I don’t… I completely deny it. I know he’s older than my parents, so I have never thought of doing this with him.”

Chandaraty, a hairdresser, said her long-term Facebook account, under the name “Mon Srey”, which used to host some of the clips, had been hacked. She claimed that on February 29, she was unable to access her page, which she claimed to have used for two years.

However, an inspection of the page last week suggested it had only been live for three days. It has since been deactivated.

Chandaraty said she had spoken to Sokha only once, about three weeks ago, when he called wanting a haircut.

“He asked ‘is the barber free for a haircut now?’ Then I replied, ‘yes [he’s] free, you can come’,” Chandaraty said of the phone call.“This was my call with him. I had no time to talk with him a lot . . . I was busy working.”

She told the Post later that she had not attempted to reach either Sokha or Cambodia National Rescue Party representatives since the scandal broke.

Sokha himself has not responded directly to the adultery accusations or tapes, while party president Sam Rainsy, currently abroad while facing charges at home, said it was a “dirty tricks campaign” by the Cambodian People’s Party.

The case has raised questions about whether Sokha’s phones had been tapped. The CPP have denied involvement. The case, however, has moved into the hands of authorities.

Chandaraty has been sought by the Interior Ministry’s anti-terrorism and overseas crime department to discuss a defamation suit filed by social media celebrity Thy Sovanntha in response to disparaging remarks about her made by the man alleged to be Sokha in one of the recordings.

A summons issued by the department’s director, Y Sok Khy, seen by the Post, requests Chandaraty to appear at the ministry on March 11, after missing a previous summons hearing on March 7.

Sok Khy was unreachable last night.

Though receiving no threats, Chandaraty said she temporarily fled her home, anxious about her safety. She said, however, that she recalled people following her a week before the recordings were released.

Her reputation and family honour tarnished, Chandaraty said she contacted Adhoc to seek justice. “This scandal is made up,” she said. Yesterday, Nay Vanda, senior monitor at Adhoc, said the organisation would provide her a lawyer.

“We won’t let her go alone to the ministry without legal representation,” Vanda said, adding that Chandaraty was “living in fear”. “The lawyer needs to study the case first so we may ask the ministry to delay the summons again.”

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