A personal assistant to an opposition senator whose arrest was ordered by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday morning said the senator was now in hiding, contradicting a claim from Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) President Kong Korm that he had been arrested.
Sambath David, an assistant to SRP Senator Hong Sok Hour, said the senator was now in a “safe place.”
“He has not been arrested yet. He is in hiding now and I can say that he is in a safe place,” Mr. David said.
Acting CNRP spokesman Ou Chanrith said that no arrest was made at the opposition party’s headquarters, also contradicting Mr. Korm’s report.
“No arrest has been made at the CNRP headquarters. So far, we cannot confirm the arrest,” he said.
Soem Vuthy, deputy Phnom Penh police chief, said the National Police were handling the case. National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith could not be reached.
Mr. Korm said on Thursday that Mr. Sok Hour was apprehended at the CNRP’s Phnom Penh headquarters in the morning, a little more than an hour after Prime Minister Hun Sen delivered a speech ordering police to arrest him over a Facebook post showing fake international treaties.
“I can confirm that Hong Sok Hour has been arrested at the CNRP’s headquarters in Chak Angre Loeu commune a few minutes ago,” he said.
Kep Chuktema, a lawmaker for the ruling CPP, said on his own Facebook page in the morning that Mr. Hun Sen had called for Mr. Sok Hour’s arrest because the senator had posted fake treaties.
Mr. Sok Hour has played a key role in the CNRP’s recent campaign to uncover Vietnamese encroachments into Cambodia and traveled to Paris to collect maps the party says it will use to check if border posts are correctly placed.
The CNRP has mounted a campaign over the past three months accusing the government of complicity in Vietnamese border encroachments, and of using incorrect border demarcation maps that cede land to Vietnam.
Mr. Sok Hour’s personal telephone rang on Thursday morning, but nobody answered.