Overseas Cambodian Activists Blamed for Anti-Hun Sen Leaflets

Police in Banteay Meanchey province are seeking the people behind printing scores of anonymous leaflets demanding the toppling of the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

More than 120 leaflets were found early Sunday morning near a pagoda and at a teachers’ training center in Serei Saphoan City in Banteay Meanchey, provincial governor Kousoum Saroeuth said. 

The leaflets also call for the release of 21 garment strike detainees and the release of jailed Buddhist monks, provincial authorities said Monday.

“The anonymous leaflets firstly demand the release of three Buddhist monks from Kampuchea Krom, secondly they demand the release of Vorn Pao [President of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association] and other workers,” Mr. Saroeuth said.

The leaflets did not provide details on the identity or location of the three Buddhist monks.

“Another important thing is that the anonymous leaflets call for unity to topple the current prime minister,” he said.

Mr. Saroeuth said that he had instructed provincial police and other authorities to conduct an investigation and find the people responsible for printing the leaflets.

Mr. Saroeuth said that he believed that Cambodians living abroad were responsible for the leaflets, as they carried the logo of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF), an activist group based in Denmark.

Last year, seven men allegedly connected to the KNLF, including three Khmer Krom monks, were jailed on charges of creating a so-called “armed terrorist organization,” also after allegedly distributing anti-government leaflets.

As is the case with many such cases, scant evidence was presented in court to support the government’s claim against the accused.

Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said he had briefly seen the leaflets found Sunday but could not confirm that the leaflets called for the overthrow of the government.

“I think this is just freedom of expression,” Mr. Chankea said of the leaflets.

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