An international arrest warrant has been issued for three Cambodian-Americans wanted by the government for allegedly threatening to kill Cambodia’s leaders.
Interpol, the international police organization, has added Bona Bunphoath, 44; Mao Keoun, 50; and Somrithy David Yoeun, 49, to its wanted list for making the unspecified threats earlier this year as CNRP supporters staged a series of demonstrations in Phnom Penh to protest last year’s election results.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak confirmed the government had asked Interpol and the U.S. to send the men, from Washington state, Pennsylvania and Georgia, respectively, to Cambodia to face prosecution.
General Sopeak declined to say when the request was sent or which leaders the men were accused of threatening.
“We are hopeful that Interpol and the FBI will send them back to Cambodia soon,” he said.
Gen. Sopheak said the trio had “fled” Cambodia to avoid punishment, but that they still “must face the rule of law.”
“We are cooperating with Interpol to arrest them, because even though they are other nationalities, Interpol Police could arrest them anywhere in the world,” he said.
On his Facebook page, Mr. Bunphoath appears to be an ardent CNRP supporter, with several photographs showing him posing in front of opposition party banners and with CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha’s eldest daughter, Kem Monovithya, the party’s deputy director of public affairs.
Mr. Bunphoath is also a member of the Khmer Voice for Democracy, a group based in Tacoma, Washington, and, according to U.S. media reports, received a minor sentence in April after striking a plea deal and admitting to illegal wildlife trafficking on a massive scale.
Local media reported Thursday that Mr. Keoun and Mr. Yoeun are also supporters of the opposition CNRP.
Asked about the photograph of her and Mr. Bunphoath, Ms. Monovithya said she could not be expected to know every single CNRP supporter that she meets.
“I’m not exactly sure who you’re referring to,” she said. “I’m sure I have many thousands of photographs with many thousands of CNRP supporters.”
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he knew nothing about the case.
(Additional reporting by Holly Robertson)