Hunt is on for Coup Plotter

KHMER TIMES/TAING VIDA THURSDAY, 21 JULY 2016

A Defense Ministry spokesman said police have identified a man who announced a plot to overthrow the government on YouTube and are searching for him.

The alleged coup plotter as he appeared on a YouTube video calling for the overthrow of the government. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The alleged coup plotter as he appeared on a YouTube video calling for the overthrow of the government. KT/Chor Sokunthea

On Sunday, a four-minute video clip, posted to YouTube and Facebook under the account name “Siem Reap Angkor,” showed a man who called himself  “VP9” reading a statement announcing his plan for a coup d’etat against Prime Minister Hun Sen and his government.
The man said he wanted to “liberate” the country from the “dictatorial” regime of Mr. Hun Sen and called on the military and public institutions to join him in his plot.
The man cited a number of human rights violations allegedly committed by the premier’s government during his more than 30 years in power as reasons why the coup was needed.
“We, representing the Southwestern unit, would like to announce to every organization and ministry in the country to know that in the very near future, all forces should be ready to overthrow the authoritarian system led by the head of the CPP [Cambodian People’s Party] Mr. Hun Sen and the Vietnamese communists. This unit does not recognize the current government,” the man in the video said.
The video was initially shared by local media outlet Fresh News and exploded on Facebook, with a number of people also sharing videos of tanks being moved from Preah Vihear province to Phnom Penh. The Defense Ministry and General Commissariat of National Police announced they were searching for the suspect and any accomplices on Tuesday.
National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said the announcement was an attempt to incite the population to riot against a legitimate government, and asked the public to ignore the statement.
After a day of investigation, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense Chhum Sucheat said police had identified the suspect, but could not show his face to the public because they were still searching for him and were afraid he may flee the country.
“We have already identified the suspect, and now, please give time for police to work on it. The announcement was completely illegal and can’t be allowed because it caused insecurity in the nation.
“It is against the constitution and against the legitimate government. We totally disagree with this action and we will destroy those trying such an action.”

The man who many believe to be the main suspect was found with a Facebook account in Khmer under the name “Vichea Som-Preah Vihear province” along with many photos of a man in a soldier’s uniform. His Facebook page was full of posts critical of the ruling party, Mr. Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy.
The government has often made claims about potential plots to overthrow them, frequently and erroneously tying recent Black Monday protests against the detention of human rights officials as attempts to “start a color revolution.”
Last August, they arrested a young student for posting a message on Facebook about overthrowing the government. In March, he was sentenced to one and half years in prison, leading to cries of concern from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and others who urged the government to stop prosecuting people simply for sharing their opinion.
But governments around the world have been on edge since last week’s failed putsch in Turkey, a seemingly stable country before a night of gunfire and violence left the country reeling.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has often warned of conspiracies and plots to overthrow his government. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Prime Minister Hun Sen has often warned of conspiracies and plots to overthrow his government. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Many observers have said the government’s movement of military material from Preah Vihear to the capital was in advance of the funeral procession for prominent government critic Kem Ley on Sunday. Thousands of people will descend on the capital and follow Mr. Ley’s body as it is brought to his home province of Takeo.

Source: www.khmertimeskh.com

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