Police are investigating a complaint filed by CNRP activists in Oddar Meanchey province accusing a CPP village chief of tearing down their signs in Samraong City last month.
Monh Sarath, head of the CNRP’s provincial working group, said the party had informed local authorities of the party’s plans to erect the pro-opposition signs. But when party supporters started setting them up in Bansay Reak commune on May 29, he said, they were accosted by a group of political rivals.
“When we installed our signs, the village chief led nearly 10 people to prevent us, claiming we did it without their permission,” he said.
City and commune police called to the scene dispersed O’Bakdav village chief Huong Phoeu and his group, allowing the CNRP supporters to erect the three signs, only to have them torn down later that night, Mr. Sarath said.
“One sign was thrown away nearby; one was thrown into a tree; and the other remains missing,” he said.
Mr. Phoeu could not be reached for comment.
Khom Sokhun, deputy head of the CNRP’s provincial executive committee, said the party filed a complaint with city police on June 1.
“On that night, our activist saw the village chief and his colleagues come to remove our signs,” he said, adding that some of the men with the village chief were soldiers.
“We complained to ask for intervention so we can reinstall the signs and be paid compensation for their damage and to ask that those people be punished according to the law,” he said.
City police chief Sun San said his officers questioned CNRP activists on Monday over the complaint.
“We are resolving it,” he said, growing angry when asked whether police would also question the village chief and his colleagues. “This is my expertise. I know how to do it,” he said before hanging up.
Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said the sign vandalism did not violate election laws because it fell outside of an election cycle, but that property damage under the Criminal Code could still apply.