A Vietnamese police officer wearing civilian clothes and a Cambodian police cap was briefly apprehended by attendees of a public forum hosted by the opposition CNRP in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadaw district on Wednesday, according to a lawmaker and local official.
CNRP lawmaker Mao Monyvann, who has been touring the country’s northeastern border this week to meet with locals who claim that Vietnam has been encroaching on Cambodian territory, said a Vietnamese border police officer was identified by some of the 500 villagers who had gathered for the forum.
“A Vietnamese border police captain was caught and villagers held him before handing him to [Cambodian] police,” Mr. Monyvann said, explaining that the man had a Vietnamese ID card. “It was ridiculous. The apprehended Vietnamese border police officer was wearing civilian clothes and a Cambodian police cap.”
The CNRP lawmaker said the man had also filmed the opposition-led delegation earlier in the week as they visited an area near the border where they claim Vietnamese farmers have illegally dug seven ponds to irrigate nearby plantations.
Multiple local police officials said they were either unaware of the incident or unable to comment on it. O’Yadaw district governor Ma Vicheth confirmed the encounter but said he could not explain how it happened.
“I received information from my subordinates about this case—it really happened,” Mr. Vicheth said.
“But the border authorities are involved with this work; I and local authorities can only help manage the forces to protect the people gathering,” he said. “So I don’t have details about how they [Vietnamese police] crossed the border to join the forum.”
Mr. Vicheth said that upon hearing about the situation at the forum, he told officials to ensure that the crowd remained calm until authorities were able to intervene.
Mr. Monyvann, the opposition lawmaker, said he planned to write a letter to Interior Minister Sar Kheng about Wednesday’s incident, asking him to “strictly monitor the border by not allowing foreigners to cross the border anarchically.”