Authorities say they have discovered irregularities among the 170,000 thumbprints the CNRP gathered in support of a petition seeking King Norodom Sihamoni’s intervention in the current political crisis, deputy National Police chief Kang Sokhorn said on Tuesday.
General Sokhorn, who is in charge of the inquiry into the petitions, said a number of problems were found in an initial review of about 5 percent of the prints.
“We found something remarkable,” Gen. Sokhorn said after a meeting on the issue in Phnom Penh on Tuesday with National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun.
“There are some thumbprints duplicated on other people’s names. Some have names but no thumbprints. Some have thumbprints but no names. Some have names and thumbprints, but no specific address,” he said.
However, Gen. Sokhorn said he would not jump to any conclusions about the legitimacy of the CNRP’s petition drive, saying the investigation should only take a month.
“Our committee will be working hard to finish it as soon as possible. When we are 30 percent finished we would be able to make some conclusions, but so far we have just finished about 5 percent,” he said.
Gen. Sokhorn did not say what percent of the scrutinized petition entries contained problems.
Last week, Mao Chandara, head of the Interior Ministry’s identification department, claimed not to have the facilities or funds to check thumbprints, and Gen. Sokhorn would not say on Tuesday what had changed. “We wish to decline comment about that,” he said.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the party has since collected 220,000 more thumbprints in support of its cause and, in a veiled threat of demonstrations, said police should call the petitioners to Phnom Penh.
“CNRP lawmakers [just] transported the thumbprints to be submitted to the king, as we represent the people,” Mr. Sovann said.
“If they want to verify if they are real or not, please call all the people to Phnom Penh,” Mr. Sovann said. “If they want more thumbprints, we can bring them 220,000 more.”