A man arrested in late February for carrying explosives and leaflets touting anti-Vietnamese sentiments in connection with the group known as Free Vietnam is under supervision by the Cambodian government, officials at the Ministry of Interior confirmed on Tuesday.
Officials also assured that unlike other cases involving the anti-communist group where members were arrested for their activities on Cambodian soil and then immediately deported to Vietnam, the detainee, Vinh Anh Ton, will remain in Cambodia for questioning.
“We don’t want to be obsessed with this group, but we have to take measures,” the Interior official said. “We must continue to investigate further.”
The case comes barely a month before celebrations will be held in Vietnam marking 25 years since the war with the US ended and the ruling Communist Party took control of South Vietnam.
The US State Department recently issued a warning to US citizens living in Cambodia and Vietnam, saying that some individuals may try to “mar these events with acts of violence.”
US Ambassador Kent Wiedemann on Tuesday said the warning in part came from information that anti-Vietnamese dissidents, possibly Free Vietnam members, could be operating in Cambodia, even though he said he doubts the movement is a full-fledged terrorist group.
Vietnam’s ambassador to Cambodia, Nguyen Duy Hung, said his government is taking steps to assure safe celebrations. “We have a kind of agreement with the Cambodian government to take care of this problem,” he said.
Last year a man who reportedly was the ringleader of Free Vietnam’s efforts in Cambodia was arrested by Phnom Penh authorities in Pailin. Friends and family said he was sent back to Vietnam and has not been seen since.
The move brought harsh criticism from the UN’s special human rights envoy to Cambodia, who said it violated Cambodia’s signature on an international treaty to protect the rights of those who could face political persecution in their home countries.
(Additional reporting by Kevin Doyle and Kay Kimsong)