The Pursat Provincial Court charged a 53-year-old man Wednesday for destroying an opposition party election campaign sign with an ax, a court official said Thursday.
Provincial prosecutor Tan Seihak Dechak said that Tob Sao had been charged with damaging public property in an incident Sunday night in Veal Veng district’s Thma Da commune, during which he vandalized a sign promoting the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
“The court decided to detain him ahead of his trial,” said Mr. Seihak Dechak. “If the court finds him guilty, he could face between six months and three years in prison.”
Mr. Seihak Dechak said the incident was the first he knew of in Pursat where a political party’s campaign sign had been damaged ahead of the July 28 national election.
Deputy provincial judicial police chief Say Savuth said that police arrested Mr. Sao on Wednesday after a local CNRP representative filed a complaint against him to commune police.
Mr. Savuth said the suspect had admitted to destroying the sign, but claimed it was not a political act.
“He said that he was drunk, so he had no interest that the sign was CNRP,” Mr. Savuth said.
The CNRP has complained of dozens of acts of vandalism against its signage across the country.
Last week, the Interior Ministry issued a statement accusing the opposition party of damaging 16 of their own signs in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces as a provocative act designed to stir things up before the election.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen used a speech in Kompong Cham province to call for justice to be brought against anyone vandalizing election campaign signs.