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Vietnam border campaigner Sam An vows to return in April

Um Sam An (right) holds up a map of Kampot province last year during his visit to the Library of Congress in Washington. Photo supplied
Um Sam An (right) holds up a map of Kampot province last year during his visit to the Library of Congress in Washington. Photo supplied

Vietnam border campaigner Sam An vows to return in April

Outspoken Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Um Sam An yesterday vowed to return to Cambodia in April despite fearing arrest over his prominent role in the CNRP’s campaign to highlight Vietnamese territorial encroachment, which raised the government’s ire last year.

Sam An, a dual American-Cambodian citizen, left for the United States last year after months of criticising the government’s border policy and accusing the regime of losing land to Vietnam by using the wrong demarcation maps.

The campaign, which saw Sam An and supporters clash with Vietnamese villagers while inspecting alleged encroachment at the border, sparked a swift government response, including a vow by Prime Minister Hun Sen in August to arrest anyone who alleged the government had ceded territory.

While overseas, Sam An continued to accuse the government of mismanaging the border issue.

“Although we face arrest, we cannot be scared,” Sam An said, adding it was his duty to return and “serve the people”.

“What I did is for the nation.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Sam An, whom he called a troublemaker, was not currently being sought by police.

“At this time, this hour, there has not been an arrest warrant for Um Sam An yet. But in the future, I don’t know.”

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