Phnom Penh police on Wednesday discovered hundreds of anti-government leaflets accusing the administration of Prime Minister Hun Sen of destroying the nation.
The leaflets were scattered at three prominent city sites: near Wat Phnom, Wat Botum and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They called on people to stand up against a Vietnamese-backed government put in placed in 1979.
Brig. Gen. Touch Naroth, chief of Phnom Penh police, told VOA Khmer the leaflets were intended to cause turmoil and sully the prestige of Hun Sen and the government.
The leaflet was the work of politically “partial” people seeking to weaken the influence of Hun Sen “and want to capture power from the current, legal government,” he said. “They understand that they can’t win in elections, and they’ve turned to oppose [Hun Sen] through a variety of turmoil and by making people confused.”
Anti-Hun Sen leaflets have routinely appeared in the city since 1993, with those found distributing them sometimes arrested.
Touch Naroth said the leaflets could potentially pose a threat to the government.
“If the throwers really dare, they can come out and solve their problems through court channels, and not make turmoil through leaflet-throwing,” he said. “People known and have heard and are bored with this problem. We gathered the leaflets to burn them.”
Police were seeking the perpetrators for arrest, he said. “We can charge the throwers for disinformation.”
The leaflets are printed with the names of five people, including a Sam Rainsy Party activist named Kim Sopheak.
Kim Sopheak was at the opposition party’s headquarters Wednesday, but he said by phone he had nothing to do with the leaflets.
“I am very worried and not going any place,” he said. “I understand that someone want to mistreat me and wants to blame me by writing my name on the leaflets.”
Officials from the rights groups Adhoc and Licadho said they were investigating the leaflets.