The National Police’s annual report has highlighted security challenges for the country, singling out the opposition party’s alleged attempt to overthrow the government as the major challenge of 2017.
The report, signed by National Police commissioner General Neth Savoeun, said security services thwarted the opposition CNRP’s attempt to topple Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.
“The government prevented their trick, arrested CNRP president Kem Sokha, and dissolved the party,” the report said.
The report also mentioned how police cracked down on Voice over Internet Protocol scams last year, as well as illegal gambling.
It went on to cite how Khmer Power Party president Sourn Serey Ratha, Khmer National United Party president Nhek Bun Chhay, and another three suspects were arrested for inciting civil disobedience amongst the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, drug trafficking, and providing sensitive information to foreign radio stations.
“In general, the security situation in Cambodia last year was good,” the report said, adding that police forces successfully stopped terrorism and cross-border crime while maintaining national independence and sovereignty.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng presided over the government’s annual meeting on national security and pointed out how the country was currently enjoying peace.
He asked people to look back on previous regimes, including that of the French colonists, Lon Nol and Pol Pot, and to consider how times had improved since then.
“The opposition party was dissolved by the court because they abused the constitution,” Mr Kheng said. “We have a duty to protect peace and stability and the government.”
He added that the new Cambodia National Rescue Movement still posed a threat to the government, so authorities must crackdown on its activities, particularly ahead of July’s general election.
National Police chief of staff Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun said his forces aimed to strengthen security for national development and guarantee a good environment for elections this year.
“We will absolutely protect the constitutional, legal government and guarantee the regularity of the state,” Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said. “We cannot allow any enemies to trick or incite armed forces to destroy the achievements of the nation.”
Gen Savoeun said that all National Police must protect the nation, religion, King and legal government against those who want to destroy peace.
Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen hailed the government’s success in preventing a colour revolution as he presided over a ceremony to celebrate Victory Day.
Addressing more than 40,000 civil servants, students and members of the public on Koh Pich, Mr Hun Sen said the opposition had attempted to collude with a foreign power to overthrow the government.
“The organisation that cheated and betrayed the will of the people was dissolved and some of the people involved with this act are being judged by the court,” said Mr Hun Sen.
“We must believe in our hard work and must remember that our success depends on internal factors, not foreigners,” Mr Hun Sen said. “If we lose our peace, we lose everything.”
Mr Hun Sen warned that while a colour revolution had been prevented for now, opposition figures abroad still pose a risk to the government.