Cambodia’s deputy chief of anti-drug police on Sunday denied reports that he is in hiding and will seek asylum in Australia or another country.
“I am here; I am staying in Cambodia,” Heng Peo said in a brief telephone interview from his farm in Kandal province, where he said he was taking a day off.
Close aides, however, said Sunday that they have heard that Heng Peo will indeed leave Cambodia.
The reports come amid open hostility between anti-drug and military police, allegedly over drug crackdowns.
A recent US State Department report noted that Cambodia has made some progress at rooting out corruption.
Heng Peo claimed last week that plots to kill him have existed since a military police officer was arrested in a marijuana bust earlier this year.
His comments came on the heels of an incident in which military police armed with assault rifles shot at his Phnom Penh house.
One bullet went through the wall of the bedroom where, Heng Peo said, he had been sleeping at the time.
Heng Peo said Sunday he is “very upset” at news reports, such as one transmitted on the BBC, that stated he has gone into hiding and is seeking to leave Cambodia.
While Heng Peo was adamant Sunday about not going abroad and not hiding, a family member said Heng Peo was staying with relatives in Phnom Penh rather than remaining at his house on Pasteur Street.
Heng Peo said he is taking more precautions since the military police shot at his residence and the nearby Interpol headquarters.
Heng Peo hasn’t said whom he suspects is plotting to kill him, but he has suggested a scenario.
“They planned to have a car crash into mine and if I got out of the car, they would use a gun with a silencer to shoot and kill me in a crowd,” he predicted last week.
“They will invent a story saying that I provoked the attack,” Heng Peo said.