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Pchum Ben security plans heightened to anticipate rebels

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
National Police chief General Neth Savoeun. KT/Siv Channa

The National Police yesterday laid out security plans to all officers across the country in a bid to ensure safety and prevent any attempts to overthrow the government during Pchum Ben festival.

National Police chief General Neth Savoeun yesterday led a close-door meeting with nearly 1,000 police officers following an order from Interior Minister Sar Kheng, who on Saturday voiced security concerns in relation to a planned return of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

Mr Kheng also instructed Phnom Penh and provincial governors to keep an eye on former CNRP supporters at pagodas during Pchum Ben.

National Police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun told reporters after the meeting yesterday that Gen Savoeun has ordered police to stay alert following a report that a rebel group formed by the former CNRP party is seeking to gather people at pagodas.

“Recently, the rebel group has announced its plan to cause social insecurity and take the opportunity to overthrow the government,” he said. “Therefore, all police officials must be attentive and follow clear security measures to ensure safety.”

Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said police officials will be deployed to pagodas and crowded areas during and after Pchum Ben to monitor any irregular movements by opposition groups.

“We will not allow any illegal movement or rebel group to destroy the peace and safety our people are enjoying now,” he said. “Security plans have been forwarded to all police departments and we have committed to it.”

Kandal provincial police chief Major General Eav Chamroeun yesterday said he will strictly follow the security plans, adding that police have been trained to strengthen their capacity.

“I have ordered the provincial police to be aware of opposition groups and take action immediately for any suspected illegal movement,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week charged Mr Rainsy with lèse-majesté and sent the case to an investigating judge following a request by Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin yesterday said the Justice Minister is authorised by law to order a charge against anyone who has seriously impacted the charisma of the King.

“The Justice Minister is eligible to request or order the court to charge someone whose acts insulted the monarch,” Mr Malin said. The serious insults against the King is a violation of the Constitution.”

Mr Malin, who is also deputy of the Cambodia Human Rights Committee, said the committee yesterday held a meeting with the National Assembly human rights and complaints commission to discuss the convictions and charges against Mr Rainsy, former CNRP officials and supporters.

“We talked about these issues,” he said. “The CHRC has explained to the National Assembly that all convictions and charges against former CNRP officials were based on laws. We denied allegations by opposition groups saying court decisions are politically motivated.”

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