Opposition Says CPP Defector Is in Australia

A former CPP official with the Ministry of Interior who defected to the Sam Rainsy Party has fled to Australia fearing for his personal safety, an opposition official said Monday.

Nhim Kim Nhol, former CPP colonel for the Ministry of In­terior’s economic police, escaped to Australia on Dec 23 with opposition leader Sam Rainsy and several other high-ranking Sam Rainsy Party officials because he feared for his safety after publicly defecting to the opposition party, said Phi Thach, Cabinet chief of the Sam Rainsy Party.

“He was worried for his safety,” Phi Thach said. “The CPP wants to blame the Sam Rainsy Party.”

Phi Thach said authorities had recently issued an arrest warrant for Nhim Kim Nhol in an alleged shooting incident stemming  from 1998.

Phi Thach said Nhim Kim Nhol was accused of shooting an unidentified person, but the courts had not taken any action against him.

He said the recent defection of Nhim Kim Nhol to the opposition led authorities to press for his  ar­rest. “Generally this is not a political case because he is not an im­portant man,” Gen­eral Khieu So­pheak, spokes­man for the Minis­try of Interior, said Mon­day.

Khieu Sopheak confirmed that a warrant had been issued.

The Ministry of Interior fired Nhim Kim Nhol in 1998 for allegedly fighting during a card game and for allegedly raping a woman, Khieu Sopheak said.  He said the courts never took action against Nhim Kim Nhol because the courts had allegedly been bribed.


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