Rights Workers, Election Official Arrested Over Sex Scandal

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) arrested four senior officers of human rights group Adhoc and a National Election Committee (NEC) official on Thursday night over allegations that they instructed an alleged mistress of deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha to deny their affair, the unit’s chairman said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters at the ACU’s Phnom Penh headquarters on Friday morning, Om Yentieng said that all five–Adhoc senior investigator Lim Mony; the group’s head of monitoring, Ny Sokha; his deputies Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan; and NEC deputy secretary-general Ny Chakrya, who is also Ny Sokha’s predecessor–were arrested at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

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Adhoc officers Nay Vanda, left, and Yi Soksan sit inside the ACU compound in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.

“We arrested five people, including four Adhoc officials and one NEC official,” Mr. Yentieng said.

He said they were arrested for “corruption” but refused to be more specific, adding that the five were still in custody at the ACU compound.

The rights workers were questioned by the ACU for a second day on Thursday after 25-year-old hairdresser Khom Chandaraty admitted to having had an affair with Mr. Sokha under questioning at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week and later accused the group of having previously convinced her to deny it.

She also accused Adhoc lawyer Try Chhuon, women’s rights advocate Thida Khus, U.N. official Sally Soen and opposition commune chief Seang Chet of persuading her to lie. Mr. Chet was jailed on bribery charges on Wednesday for allegedly paying Ms. Chandaraty $500 to deny the affair.

Mr. Yentieng said on Friday that the ACU did not arrest Ms. Chhuon or Ms. Khus–who were also questioned by the ACU on Thursday–because they had not committed any offense.

“Thida Khus and a lawyer [Ms. Chhuon], their answers were clearer than the answers of the accused,” he said. “We believe their answers–that they were not involved.”

The ACU chairman said that Mr. Soen, an official at the U.N.’s local human rights office who did not appear for questioning on Thursday, could be brought to the ACU’s headquarters by force if he refused to heed a future summons.

“If we summon him and he doesn’t come to answer, we will issue a warrant to bring him in,” Mr. Yentieng said.

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