Khmer Krom Leader Files Complaint Over Threats

The organizer of last week’s protests against the Vietnamese Embassy filed a complaint Friday with the Ministry of Interior over death threats he says he received over the course of the demonstrations.

For five days beginning on October 6, protesters marched through Phnom Penh to the Vietnamese Embassy, where they burned Vietnamese flags and currency to demand an apology for comments made by then-embassy spokesman Tran Van Thong, who in a radio interview in June rejected claims that the Kampuchea Krom provinces—now southern Vietnam—belonged to Cambodia until colonial France ceded them in 1949.

Thach Setha, who heads the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community, which led the demonstrations, said on Wednesday that he had received telephone calls from a Vietnamese-speaking man who threatened to have him killed by “his Vietnamese soldiers” in Cambodia.

Mr. Setha said Sunday that he submitted an official complaint to the Interior Ministry on Friday, requesting help from officials in locating and identifying the man who made the threats.

In the complaint, Mr. Setha says he received “not less than 20 calls,” first from a number with an Ontario, Canada, area code, then from a private number.

At one point, the man said he would make Mr. Setha “eat a grenade” if he did not put an end to the protests, according to the complaint.

When a reporter on Wednesday called the Ontario number provided by Mr. Setha, a man answered and identified him himself as Tuan.

The man said he had left Vietnam for Canada 20 years ago and knew nothing about the Khmer Krom.

On Thursday, Mr. Setha received an unsigned email, with the name Minh Nguyen in the address, apologizing for the threatening calls.

“I am living in Canada for more than 20 years…. I was lost my mind, forgot to take my mental medicines, and was so drunken at that times,” the email says.

When contacted by telephone again Sunday, Mr. Tuan denied both sending the email and making the calls, adding that he regularly charges people waiting at a bus stop in front of his house $1 to use his cordless phone.

“Many, many people use my phone,” he said.

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