Khmer Rise Party on Saturday carried out a campaign for the collection of thumbprints in support of hopes to recover Koh Tral, or Phu Quoc island in Vietnam, following an approval by the Phnom Penh Municipal Governor.
However, “One thumbprint for Koh Tral” campaigners were restricted to only collecting thumbprints at its head office in Boeng Kak I commune in Tuol Kork district.
KRP honorary president Prum Piseth yesterday said that collection first began on Saturday. The campaign has garnered support from students, public servants and monks, regardless of the restrictions set in place by the City Hall.
“One thumbprint for Koh Tral is only an awareness raising campaign and it’s to address public concerns over the loss of one of Cambodia’s territories,” Mr Piseth said. “I know Koh Tral is a sensitive issue that most people dare not talk about, but the KRP believes that it’s important to pick it up and demand it back.”
He added that the party will continue to press the government and the Constitutional Council to allow for the collection of thumbprints across the country.
KRP is calling for the collection of 50,000 thumbprints in order to request support for the island some in Cambodia think still belongs to the country.
In a notification letter dated Friday and following a meeting on Thursday, Governor Khuong Sreng approved the campaign to be held at KRP’s main headquarters.
Mr Sreng added that using loudspeakers and campaigning on the streets are strictly prohibited.
He noted that any social unrest or activities undermining national security could have the permission revoked.
“The KRP must follow the law and understand it clearly to avoid causing trouble,” Mr Sreng said. “If they act against the law, there will be no tolerance and we will take action.”
Previously, the Interior Ministry warned of the possibility of legal action being taken against those involved in the campaign.
The ministry said that the campaign itself will likely stir animosity that could lead to revived conflicts between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Earlier this month, the KRP filed a lawsuit against Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch after he criticised the campaign.
Mr Touch said at the time that he’s ready to challenge the lawsuit, noting that the issue of Koh Tral is an issue between governments and that it is likely to cause social unrest and instability.