PHNOM PENH —
An opposition district officer has been fined for distributing leaflets that accuse Vietnam of trying to “eradicate” Cambodia.
Chhea Taing Sorn, 63, was summoned to the district police station of Prey Kabbas, in Takeo province, where he was detained for two nights and quickly tried on Monday. The court ordered him to pay 3 million riel, about $730, for the offense.
The leaflets, obtained via Facebook, outlined 20 “methods” allegedly used by Vietnam to “eradicate the Khmer nation and to take over its land,” Chum Chhoen, Prey Kabbas district police chief, said.
“We invited him to come in to ask him about the leaflets,” Chum Chhoen said, adding that Chhea Tain Sorn was later moved from district police custody to the provincial police headquarters, where he was detained.
Chhea Taing Sorn was given a fine, but no jail time, said deputy prosecutor Phann Sopheak, considering his age and his profession as a teacher. “I requested to the judge that he should just be fined. It’s a light charge. We helped him.”
However, Chhea Taing Sorn, who is a district officer for the Cambodia National Rescue Party, said he had not distributed any leaflets.
He was not sure whether he would appeal the decision. “The party told me to pay. But my lawyer said if I do not appeal, it means I’ve accepted that I was wrong. And I did nothing wrong.”