Man Arrested for Slashing CPP Sign in Battambang Province

A 24-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday after being accused of slashing a CPP sign with a large knife in Battambang province, where there has been a spate of attacks on ruling party signs over the past few months.

Phat Sopheap allegedly slashed the political logo at about 7 p.m. on Wednesday, said Nget Vanna, chief of the Kamrieng district’s serious crimes bureau.

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A CPP campaign sign stands along a dirt road running through corn plantations in rural Prey Veng province. (Colin Meyn/The Cambodia Daily)

“When police officers went to crack down, the man was drunk. He even fought back against police,” Mr. Vanna said on Thursday.

Provincial officers who questioned the man said they did not believe the motive he offered, that he was angry following a lovers’ quarrel. He was to be sent to the provincial court today for questioning.

“He said his girlfriend broke up with him and so on, and the knife was nearby,” said Aun Fai, chief of the province’s serious crimes bureau. “So he took it, and attacked and pushed down the party logo sign.”

“We are finding additional reasons because…the reasons he clarified, some were not reasonable,” Mr. Fai said. “If he got angry, why did he go and hack a banana tree? Why did he go hack the party logo?”

Deputy provincial police chief Chet Vanny declined to comment on the case as the investigation was still ongoing.

Chea Sokphat, district governor and deputy district chairman of the CPP, said 19 party logo signs in the district’s Kamrieng commune had been damaged in a single night in March. Another sign had been damaged in the district’s O’Da commune last month.

He said all the recently defaced signs had been installed in February and March ahead of the June 4 commune elections.

Speaking about Mr. Sopheap’s case, the district governor said that authorities had not determined whether “someone behind him told him to do something like this.” He said the slashing was disrespectful to the CPP as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly President Heng Samrin, whose faces appear on the signs.

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