F’pec Official: Theft of Trees, Threat Political

Police in Kampot province have no leads on the theft of 100 coconut trees from a farm belonging to Funcinpec spokesman Pok Than, or a threatening note left by the robbers against the well-known royalist party official.

The coconut heist in the re­mote Phnom Voar area of Kam­pot province took place July 5, one day after what Education Min­istry Secretary of State Pok Than said was a bullet fired at his vehicle in Phnom Penh.

Pok Than said Wednesday he believes the incidents were political, but he had wanted to keep them out of the public eye.

“I kept very quiet. I wanted to work with the legal side and not make any noise. So far, I have sent [complaints] to the court in Phnom Penh and Kampot court,” Pok Than said.

He said his problems began  July 4 when he was returning to Phnom Penh after campaigning in Takeo province. Nearing his home, Pok Than said he heard a loud sound like gunfire. While in­specting his vehicle later, Pok Than found damage to the car door that he said he believes was caused by a bullet.

Pok Than’s farm in Phnom Voar was raided the following day and recently planted coconut trees were snatched. The thieves left a note saying that they had taken the coconuts but were also willing to take the farm-owner’s life.

Kampot Governor Puth Chan­darith said Wednesday he sent police officers to investigate the theft.

“Nobody knew anything…it was in a remote area,” Puth Chandarith said by telephone.

“If there is something…it is probably political,” said Pok Than. He added that he recently attacked CPP authorities at the Council of Ministers about corruption in the accreditation pro­cess for educational institutions.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Wednes­day he was familiar with the complaints made by Pok Than, but was not aware of any results from the investigation.

 

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