Police Arrest, Threaten Party Members, Opposition Says

Opposition party candidates in Pailin and Kompong Thom prov­inces say politics are behind two separate incidents in which they were arrested or threatened.

Police say politics were not in­volved.

On Saturday night, Sam Rainsy Party candidate Om Sarim, 34, and her 35-year-old husband, Den Dam, were arrested at their home in Boyakha commune, ac­cording to Sou Chandeth, op­position party chief in Pailin.

He said Om Sarim was re­leased after an hour, but her husband was detained overnight at CPP headquarters before being sent to Battambang.

The couple was accused of in­volvement with the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, he said.

Pailin police could not confirm the arrests. “I absolutely did not know about the arrests,” said Bou Sarin, deputy police chief in Pailin. “We are investigating to find out who led the arrest.”

In Kompong Thom province, Chheng Kak Lim, a Sam Rainsy Party chief and candidate for commune council, told party officials on Saturday that he was withdrawing from the race.

He said he reached his decision after a fracas at his home Friday, during which six masked men attacked him and his sons, damaging his property and screaming insults.

Chheng Kak Lim is the party chief in Staung district, Kompong Chen South commune.

The Friday incident marks the third time in a month he says mask­ed men have visited his home.

The first two times, on Aug 20 and 23, the men were chased away without incident. Friday’s incident erupted in violence, forcing Chheng Kak Lim and his three sons to lock themselves in the house while the masked invaders rampaged for an hour, throwing stones at the roof, walls and opposition party signs.

Police say that while this looks like a personal dispute, it was in fact personal.

“The sons of Kak Lim’s neighbor were beaten by his son, so they were very angry and gathered at his house for revenge,” said Huot Sarim, police chief of Staung district.


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