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
"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
"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
"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."