Bogus ‘Sihanoukist’ Cards Surface in City

A day after retired King No­ro­dom Sihanouk and King Noro­dom Sihamoni arrived in Phnom Penh, dozens of apparently bogus identity cards from a so-called “Sihanoukist” party have begun circulating through the capital.

A copy of the wallet-sized cards, ob­tained from the Ministry of In­ter­ior’s intelligence police, showed a picture of Norodom Si­ha­nouk and Queen Norodom Mo­nineath, seated in front of an image of the Cambodian flag.

The cards, similar to those is­sued for legitimate political parties, were inscribed with the name “Buddhist Association for Cam­bodian National Re­con­cil­ia­tion of Sihanoukists.”

Intelligence police on Thursday said they confiscated dozens of the cards in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac commune and Daun Penh district.

National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who is also a son of the retired king, was quick to dismiss rumors that No­rodom Sihanouk gave up the throne this month in order to en­ter politics, as he did after his first ab­dication in 1955.

Earlier this month, a senior member of Prince Ranariddh’s Fun­cinpec party said that some royalists hoped that Norodom Si­­ha­nouk would join Funcinpec after his abdication to help the party reclaim public favor.

“The retired king does not have any desire to create any po­lit­ical movement,” Prince Ra­na­riddh said Thursday at a ceremony at Fun­cin­pec headquarters .

“Any party can distribute leaflets,” he added, saying that the ministries of Interior and De­fense should probe the distribution of the identity cards.

On his return from Beijing Wednesday, Norodom Sihanouk also stressed he would remain out of politics.

“I don’t interfere with politics and the National Assembly, Senate, government, soldiers and po­lice,” he said.

Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang said Thursday the opposition party had no knowledge of the cards.

“We did not know anything about it,” he said.

Intelligence police said they will continue to investigate who is behind the cards.

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