The Cambodian passport issued to Ngin Sotheavy, the wife of jailed former Phnom Penh police chief Heng Pov, has been revoked, the deputy director of Phnom Penh’s Interpol office said Monday.
The Interior Ministry announced Sunday that Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summoned Ngin Sotheavy for questioning because police suspect her of circulating counterfeit US currency.
Interpol’s Keo Vanthan said Monday he believed Ngin Sotheavy’s passport was revoked last week, before referring further questions to National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy, who could not be reached for comment.
N Sivananthan, a Malaysian attorney representing Heng Pov, said by telephone Monday that he suspects Cambodian authorities may be seeking Ngin Sotheavy’s deportation from Singapore.
N Sivananthan said Sunday he believed Cambodian authorities were attempting to blackmail Ngin Sotheavy into dropping legal action against Malaysian officials over her husband’s deportation from Malaysia in December.
Before Heng Pov’s legal action against his deportation began, Ngin Sotheavy anticipated Cambodian reprisals and Jan 6 began an application for political asylum at the Singapore office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, according to N Sivananthan.
Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment Monday but said Sunday that Cambodia would communicate its suspicions of Ngin Sotheavy’s involvement in illegal activities to any country considering resettling her. He also denied that the allegations against Ngin Sotheavy were linked to the court case in Malaysia.
N Sivananthan said he believed the passport revocation would in fact bolster Ngin Sotheavy’s claim to political asylum.
“That would be the persecution she’s been talking about all along,” he said. “Personally, I think they’ve done her a favor.” (Additional reporting by Pin Sisovann.)