Sam Rainsy Party members are crying foul over a mysterious phone call received by their secretary-general, Eng Chhay Eang on Thursday, which they say was a trap to implicate him in the killing of union leader Chea Vichea.
Also, opposition parliamentarian Son Chhay said he received a death threat from an unidentified caller less than an hour earlier.
Eng Chhay Eang said he received a call midmorning on his mobile phone from a man who identified himself as Men Vattana.
“That man said to me: ‘What do you think now that you ordered me to threaten Chea Vichea?’” Eng Chhay Eang said, adding he believed the conversation was being recorded for police evidence to link him to Chea Vichea’s death.
“I…suspect this guy could be used by the government to put blame on [me] rather than seeking the real killer for Chea Vichea,” Eng Chhay Eng said.
Eng Chhay Eang told the caller “not to be silly” before hanging up, said Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang. The man called again about 10 minutes later, and Eng Chhay Eang warned him he would report the calls to the authorities.
Ung Bun-Ang said he suspects Eng Chhay Eang was targeted because he is an opposition party leader. But, he said: “They could have picked anyone, really.”
A call to the number, from which the man had placed his calls, went unanswered Thursday.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith could not be reached to respond to the opposition’s charges that the government was behind the alleged plot.
Meanwhile, Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said he received a call earlier the same morning from an unknown man, who said he was in Sihanoukville.
Son Chhay said the man told him the killer of popular actress Piseth Pilika, shot by unknown assailants in 1999, had returned from hiding in Vietnam and had been hired to take Son Chhay’s life.
Son Chhay added that he and several opposition lawmakers are looking for a way to remove National Police Chief Hok Lundy from his post over the police investigation of Chea Vichea’s killing, which he said was unsatisfactory.
“Hok Lundy should be suspended or he should resign so an independent organization can make proper research on all cases, including Chea Vichea’s,” he said. Hok Lundy could not be reached by phone Wednesday.