Khieu Kanharith Receives Threatening E-Mail

A threatening e-mail message addressed to Information Minister Khieu Kanharith and sent to television stations in Cambodia, if genuine, is the first such threat directed at a Cambodian government minister, Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said on Tuesday.

The profanity-ridden e-mail, written in English and warning Khieu Kanharith to “be prepared…for your death,” was received by TVK Gen­eral Director Kem Gunawath on Sat­­urday and given to the In­for­ma­tion Ministry that day, according to Chhum Socheat, ministry cabinet chief.

“If it is true, this is the first time a minister of the ruling government of Cambodia has received a threat,” Khieu Sopheak said, adding that the Interior Ministry has not received a complaint, but that it would investigate or provide guards to Khieu Kanharith as requested.

“Your comment to journalists real­ly makes me even want to kill you!” reads the e-mail, whose author identified himself as “Kra­la­ha­um­kon Archarsvar,” a pseudonym com­bining the names of two In­do­chine-era, anti-French rebel heroes. “As long as I have opportunity, then you shall be over!” the message warns.

Khieu Kanharith, who is also government spokesman, said a would-be assassin would have little trouble finding him.

“Everyone knows that I don’t have any bodyguards,” he said. “If killing me brings peace to Cam­bo­dia, I will accept this.”

He said he was not surprised by the threat as he replies to all the ac­cusations made against the government.

The e-mail was also addressed to TV11, Apsara, TV9 and the Cam­bo­dian Television Network.

CTN producer Chum Kosal, who is an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, said that his station had not re­ceived such a threat before. “The threat seems to be too extreme [to be serious],” he said.

Meng Ritha, acting secretary-general for the opposition party, speculated that the e-mail might be a government ploy rather than a genuine threat.

“I believe that this is a fake e-mail,” Meng Ritha said. “I do not believe a democratic activist would use the e-mail to threaten. Democratic act­i­vists would use only nonviolence,” he said.

 

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