The president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, Sok Touch, today (Friday, May 10) appeared before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court where he responded to the allegations of incitement and abuse of power made against him.
The lawsuit was filed by the Khmer Rise Party after Mr Touch said its thumbprint movement to reclaim Koh Tral Island (Phú Quốc) from Vietnam, initiated in August 2018, was politically motivated.
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Speaking to reporters in front of the court, Mr Touch said that he remains loyal to his standpoint and his earlier statements on the issue – that the KRP’s thumbprint movement to reclaim Koh Tral is unrealistic.
“I told the court clearly that such a movement never happened in the past and it is against the law. It would stir animosity that could lead to renewed conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam.”
Mr Touch said that as a government official he is qualified enough to offer his comments and inputs to the country, noting that his statement was aimed at warning citizens not to fall into misleading propaganda by the KRP.
Mr Touch is optimistic that the court will drop the case, saying that it is a waste of time to question this baseless KRP suit.
On the other hand, KTP’s president Sok Sovann Vathana said the movement addresses public concerns over the loss of one of Cambodia’s territories, and is not intended to rouse fear among the people.
In August, the KRP started the campaign to collect 50,000 thumbprints to support a call to reclaim Koh Tral, which some believe still rightfully belongs to Cambodia.