Five self-confessed members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters who had been living in the jungles of Koh Kong province surrendered to the authorities last week but face no charges from the Ministry of Interior or the courts, ministry officials said on Tuesday.
The five men, who were taken from Koh Kong to the Ministry of Interior Friday, were released on Tuesday and returned to Koh Kong, a ministry official said.
“The five men are members of the CFF, but we cannot arrest them because they went to the police and surrendered,” said Chhay Sinarith, director of the ministry’s Information Bureau. “Through our government policy, we often forgive them if they surrender.”
The five CFF members came from various provinces and gathered in the jungles of Koh Kong in order to plan a coup to overthrow the government, Chhay Sinarith said.
The men were allegedly cheated by unidentified CFF leaders who promised to appoint them as high-ranking officials within the US-based CFF rebel group. The unidentified CFF leaders never followed through with their promise, Chhay Sinarith said.
At least nine more suspected CFF members are still hiding in the jungles of Koh Kong, and the Ministry of Interior is asking them to surrender to the local authorities, said a ministry official who declined to be identified.
The CFF members who surrendered are not connected to Teng Seng Kim, another self-confessed CFF member who was arrested several days before the July 27 elections. Teng Seng Kim confessed to membership in the CFF and to planning a disturbance on Election Day.
On Sunday, the CFF, based in the US state of California, sent out a message via e-mail stating that it will attempt to overthrow the country—a claim made many times in the past. “Now we are organizing a patriotic armed force both secretly and openly to overthrow the puppet government slaves,” the message stated.