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Opposition Claims Harassment in Former Khmer Rouge Stronghold

Former Khmer Rouge cadre Chat Chay, 51, pauses while working near his home in Anlong Veng, file photo.
Opposition officials say they were prevented from meeting in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng by a group of soldiers clad as civilians.

Lawmakers from the Cambodia National Rescue Party were set to meet with party leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, but they were barred by an angry group claiming to be local villagers.

They were briefly walked into the jungle and had their phones and wallet taken, before they were released.

Rescue Party official Pol Haom compared the harassment to the Khmer Rouge, whose soldiers would disappear dissenters in similar jungle.

Rescue Party member Hong Sokhour said the group was dressed in civilian clothes but some were in fact soldiers under the command of Kun Kim, deputy commander of the Cambodian Armed Forces. “I’m not sure what percent,” he said.

Kun Kim was not available for comment. Yim Phana, governor of Anlong Veng district, in Oddar Meanchey province, declined to comment.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan denied the group was organized by the military or any officials. They were villagers who do not want opposition politics in their area and want to “live in peace,” he said.