Thuy Vy, a member of the Khmer National Liberation Front, was yesterday charged with conspiracy for allegedly conspiring with Sam Rainsy to stage a coup ahead of the latter’s planned return to the Kingdom on November 9.
Kuch Kimlong, spokesman for Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said Mr Vy was arrested on Tuesday after he crossed into the Kingdom from Thailand through the Poipet International Border Checkpoint.
“The judge has ordered Mr Vy be placed in pre-trial detention,” Mr Kimlong said.
Lieutenant General Roth Sreang, chief of municipal military police, said Mr Vy, 30, was arrested in Banteay Meanchey province.
“Thuy Vy confessed that he joined Sam Serey [the exiled KNLF leader in Thailand] and former CNRP top officials in the coup plot,” Lt Gen Sreang said. “He [Mr Vy] received orders to publish documents and books with political messages to incite people and attack the government.”
He said that Mr Vy fled to Thailand last year and his stay was arranged by Mr Serey, noting that the KNLF is considered a terrorist group by the government.
According to a military police report, Mr Vy said 66 KNLF members and 500 CNRP activists gathered in Thailand to collect money from sympathisers to finance Mr Rainsy’s planned return to the Kingdom.
“Mr Vy said all of his accomplices are exiled in Thailand and he sneaked in and out of Cambodia for an entire year to execute tasks assigned by Mr Serey,” the report said.
This is not the first time Mr Vy has run into trouble with authorities.
He was arrested in May 2017 and found guilty of incitement after he attempted to organise a press conference with NGOs in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district.
Mr Vy was released from prison in November 2018 after serving 18 months. He then fled to Thailand, claiming he received death threats from anonymous government officials.
Mr Serey, the exiled KNLF leader, yesterday said Mr Vy was in the process of rejoining his movement.
“I regret to hear that he was arrested. This happened after we celebrated the 28th anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement on October 23,” he said. “They [the government] are not happy with us still respecting the PPA.”
Since 2014, about 20 KNLF members have been convicted of incitement and plotting to topple the government. Each member received between one to ten years in jail.
Last year alone, a total of 12 suspects were apprehended for allegedly being connected to the KNLF.
Mr Serey said that his group is now working with the international community, particularly the United Nations and signatories of the PPA, to solve Cambodia’s political situation.
“I am working on that to demand the release of all my members and other political prisoners, including Thuy Vy,” he said.