Police Search for Cambodian in Sandals Case

Svay Rieng province police said Wednesday that an unknown Cambodian man is believed to have distributed controversial flip-flops bearing images of Angkor Wat that were found on sale in a market in Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province.

Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities confiscated 16 pairs of the flip-flops—considered highly offensive because of the placing of Cambodia’s national symbol on footwear—from the market on Jan 16 after a complaint was lodged with Svay Rieng police, provincial police chief Prach Rim said.

He added that a Vietnamese market vendor, who was arrested by authorities in Vietnam, confessed that the source of the sandals was Cambodian, but that so far there were no other leads.

“A Khmer person was the one who brought the shoes to be sold. The Vietnamese are cooperating with us,” Prach Rim said.

The flip-flops also sported garbled Khmer writing imprinted above the image of Angkor Wat.

Vietnamese Embassy spokes­man Trinh Ba Cam said that Viet­namese authorities are investigating the matter.

Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kan­harith said by telephone that police suspect the flip-flops were likely produced in Phnom Penh or Kompong Cham province, either by a Cambo­dian or a member of the anti-communist Free Vietnam movement, in an at­tempt to disrupt Cambodia’s up­coming national elections.

“It could be a Khmer or a Free Vietnamese who wants to cause chaos and put the blame on Vietnam for the production [of the sandals] as it is close to the election,” he said.

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