Kompong Chhnang provincial officials are baffled by graffiti asking “Where is the love?” that was mysteriously spray-painted on the walls of the local CPP headquarters and the provincial governor’s office earlier this week.
Police are investigating the English-language vandalism, as well as question marks that have been spray-painted on traffic signs around the provincial capital.
Officials said they were uncertain whether the motivations for the graffiti were personal or political.
“We don’t know what it means until the suspect has been arrested and confessed,” said Chim Bun Thoeun, provincial penal police chief.
“We don’t know the scope of the penalty,” he said.
Officials said they were unfamiliar with the chart hit “Where Is the Love?” by US hip-hop sensation Black Eyed Peas from their 2004 album “Elephunk,” and thought it unlikely that the graffiti was a musical reference. However, in the video for the song, band members are seen placing question marks all over a US city.
Local Khmer-language newspapers have concluded, without evidence, that the writing alludes to the turbulent relationship between the ruling CPP and its nominal coalition partner Funcinpec, Chim Bun Thoeun said. “I dare not say if it is political,” he said. “Journalists just made random conclusions.”
But the “Where is the love?” culprit appears to be in control of his senses, Chim Bun Thoeun added, as the writing abruptly stopped appearing after the police began their probe. “The suspect must not be insane because he stopped when we looked for him,” he said.
Provincial Prosecutor Mak Phanny said the writing could refer to the culprit’s own love life, though he said it was unclear why he chose to target government and CPP buildings.
CPP officials in the province have not officially reported the incident, said government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith. And Funcinpec should not worry about its relationship with the ruling party, he added.
“The CPP has its coalition and nothing has changed,” he said. “We don’t take [the graffiti] seriously.”