Authorities question men staying at former CNRP HQ

Phnom Penh: Phnom Penh municipal authorities brought four men staying at the headquarters of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in for questioning at a police station in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Sunday night.

The four men were then released early on Monday morning.

One of the four, Y Ekhorn – a security guard for the former CNRP – on Monday said they stayed at the headquarters after Teav Vannul, an official with the Candlelight Party, formerly the Sam Rainsy Party, had told them to guard the building in the district’s Angre Leu commune.

He told that authorities said the men were brought in for questioning as they had hindered officials from carrying out the population census at the building.

He added that authorities had also inquired as to the purpose of them being there.

“Authorities said we had hindered them. I did not hinder them because I had just returned from a wedding party. After taking a shower and preparing dinner at home, I was told authorities wanted to enter the headquarters. When I went there, they took us in,” he said.

On 26 February last year, Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a letter ordering the seizure of the former CNRP headquarters as part of the more than four billion riel ($1 million) compensation Sam Rainsy was ordered to pay Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly president Heng Samrin for defamation.

However, some former CNRP supporters took turns to guard the building as they had not received a court order banning them from doing so.

“We have four or five people who take turns to guard the headquarters at night,” Ekhorn said.

Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng told our reporter that authorities had seen nobody in the building when they went there in the day to carry out the census.

However, when at night they checked to see if the building was an explosion risk, they found the four men there. They were then taken in for questioning before being released.

Dy Roth Khemarun, deputy Meanchey district governor, declined to comment on the case, referring questions to district governorPich Keo Mony, who could not be reached.