Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Publisher says 'no links' to plotters

Publisher says 'no links' to plotters

Publisher says 'no links' to plotters

T HE publisher of a Vietnamese-language newspaper has denied having links with the

movement known as Vietnam Tudo, or Free Vietnam, but the government is moving to

deport four people for plotting against Hanoi.

"I would like to deny that my newspaper has any connection with Free Vietnam

movement at all," Ly Chandara, the publisher of Tudo, (Freedom) said in an interview

with the Post.

A Free Vietnam movement formed by army officers of the former South Vietnam government,

who are now naturalized American citizens, is known to have used Cambodian soil to

plot the overthrow of the current Vietnamese government.

Chandara said that he heard about the organization and was once approached by its

sympathizers because of similarity of his newspaper's name "Freedom" with

the organization.

"They [the sympathizers] approached me to try to persuade me, but I paid no

interest in it because it [the movement] is illegal," said the publisher who

used to work as Vietnamese-Khmer translator at the CPP's Pracheachon (People) newspaper

in 1987-88.

"The word freedom fits my mind. That's why I made it the paper's name. They

might have reckoned that my paper has the same goal as their organization, but I'd

like to deny any involvement with them," he said.

He also said that he fears persecution against his newspaper by Hanoi supporters

if his newspaper continues to be misrepresented.

The Ministry of Information, in June, had warned Chandara that the government would

shut down the newspaper for publishing articles deemed to be hurting Hanoi.

Chandara admitted having published critical articles and said, "I think it's

the right of journalists. I did not insult but politely criticized in a constructive

sense, for it [Vietnam] being a communist regime. Mono-party means dictatorship,

no democracy nor freedom like Cambodia," he said.

He showed the Post a June 28 letter in which the Ministry of Information, responding

to the Vietnamese Embassy's complaint, expressed regret about Tudo's article(s) which

"severely affected Vietnam and her government."

Hok Lundy, chief of National Police of the Ministry of Interior, said that the Free

Vietnam movement was headed by four Vietnamese-Americans who are currently in hiding

in Phnom Penh.

The Post has learned that one of them is Paul Andre Ross Dao, who bears a U.S. passport.

Lundy said the police were still looking for the four plotters to arrest them for

deportation - a decision which he said was made in an agreement with the U.S. Embassy

here.

"The U.S. Embassy fully agreed with the co-ministers of interior and the national

police upon the arrest [of the plotters] for deportation. We won't detain them for

punishing," he said.

"The constitution of Cambodia does not allow any group to use its territory

to stage the war against another nation," he said, adding that deportation would

occur sometime this month, after which other people involved in the movement would

have to demobilize.

However a U.S. Embassy official said that the embassy has not been in contact with

the authorities to solicit agreement on the specific deportation, which Cambodia

has the right to do according to its laws.

"The government of Cambodia has the right to deport anybody they want to who

is violating Cambodia's laws. They don't need our agreement."

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