Security Stepped Up Ahead Of Voter Registration Period

Security will be boosted nationwide in preparation for the launch of the one-month voter registration period that begins Jan 17, the first step in the buildup to July’s general elections, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng said Monday.

Sar Kheng said police and military officials have devised a joint strategy to provide security for people registering to vote and also to decrease everyday crime, which is likely to be given a political slant as ballot day approaches.

“If there is a real political [mo­tive], I am not worried. But some is­sues have not yet been discovered and they are turned into poli­tical motivation,” Sar Kheng said last week.

National Police Director-Gener­al Hok Lundy said the operation will resemble the recent security blanket placed over Phnom Penh for the eighth Asean Summit.

“More police from National Po­lice [headquarters] will be de­ployed around Phnom Penh…. Of­ficers from the 1,611 police posts around the country will be pres­ent in villages for the voters’ security,” Hok Lundy said last week.

However, Hok Lundy said it would be impossible to guarantee an incident-free registration period as political parties will link all criminal acts to the election pro­cess.

“I can’t claim that nothing will happen during the registration, be­­cause some political parties turn robbery cases into political killing and intimidation,” he said.

Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang on Monday said police officials were conspiratorially blind to political violence and intimidation.

“Political killings and robbery are different. Robbers are arrested, but the killers of members of political party members are never arrested, and the victims are al­ways accused of practicing sorcery,” Eng Chhay Eang said.

The Interior Ministry has consistently denied any vote-related violence in Cambodia, despite ex­tensive documentation by the UN of more than a dozen politically mo­tivated killings and hundreds of cases of intimidation in the run-up to February’s commune elections.


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