Prime Minister Hun Sen has assured unionist Vorn Pao that he does not need to fear arrest and flee the country over possible links to an attempted colour revolution by the former opposition CNRP.
Mr Hun Sen said during a speech to garment workers yesterday that Mr Pao feared for his safety and was on the Thai border looking to flee the country after evidence in the dissolution case against the CNRP linked him to the party over some 2014 protests.
“Yesterday, I called Vorn Pao on What’s App, because I knew that he fled and I told him to come back because nobody will do anything to him,” Mr Hun Sen said.
“I told him to come back, and he immediately responded that he will arrive this morning,” Mr Hun Sen added.
Vorn Pao, the president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association, said he was in Poipet along the Thai border for work, and was not intending to flee the country.
“I was not fleeing, I came here to carry out some work,” he said, adding that he had been concerned for his safety after some links were drawn.
“Now I feel better and confident after the government guaranteed that nobody will do anything to me, I believe Prime Minister Hun Sen’s word,” he said.
On January 2, 2014, Mr Pao, Theng Savuen from the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community, eight garment workers and five monks were arrested while protesting outside the Yak Jin Factory to demand a higher increase in the minimum wage for garment factory workers.
In May 2014, Mr Pao was found guilty by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court of instigating acts of intentional violence with aggravating circumstances, and he received a suspended sentence.
The government has labelled the 2014 protests as an attempted colour revolution led by the CNRP, which was dissolved by the Supreme Court on Thursday in the wake of its leader’s jailing on treason charges.