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Security Beefed Up After Claims of Foiled Bomb Plots

In this photo taken, Feb. 25, 2013, visitors sit near a large clock displayed on the ground at Wat Phnom, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Hun Sen ordered those involved in the plot arrested and for the police to step up security in the capital.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday ordered the security forces to remain vigilant after he claimed that the authorities had foiled a Khmer New Year terrorist plot to bomb the iconic Wat Phnom in the capital and a location in Siem Reap province.

At a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said the alleged plot was orchestrated by Sam Serey, the leader of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF), who was convicted on terrorism offenses in 2014 but lives in Denmark.

“Last night I sent secret orders to the municipal governor about an alleged April 12 plot to bomb at Wat Phnom, the city’s best known Buddhist temple. You must be careful. I already control the situation. Sam Serey, the chief traitor, is giving orders to launch the explosion. I sent it to the relevant police section,” Hun Sen said.

The premier ordered those involved in the plot arrested and for the police to step up security in the capital.

Numerous Buddhist events are scheduled for April as Cambodians continue to celebrate their new year, with the Angkor Sankranta, one of the largest, to be presided over by Hun Sen’s son, Hun Many, in Siem Reap province on Friday, where tens of thousands of Cambodians are expected to attend.

Khieu Sopheak, Interior Ministry spokesman, said there was no information on whether the alleged plotters had yet been apprehended.

"What the Prime Minister has raised is the urgency of our police to make more efforts during Khmer New Year, especially until the election day. Our police are increasing their presence and communications, the police in the country and our police abroad are connected.”

The Khmer National Liberation Front movement’s stated aim is to overthrow the government through a mixture of armed insurrection and propaganda, according to the National Police.