Candlelight Party Official Briefly Detained in Kandal, Party Says

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A voter in Takhmao, Kandal, gets their finger inked after voting. (Roun Ry/VOD)

A Candlelight Party district working group member was arrested at a polling center on Sunday for alleged bag-snatching, the party said, though local police denied any issues.

Pech Bunny, who heads the opposition party’s Ang Snuol district working group, said his deputy, Ean Pov, had been arrested by district police between 11 a.m. and noon Sunday, at a Wat Chambak primary school polling station in Kandal.

Bunny said he was told by the Ang Snuol district police chief that Pov was arrested after a slew of bag-snatching cases this morning and that his party deputy was arrested because he and the suspect were both wearing black shirts.

After searching Pov, the police found an expired media ID card, Bunny said, and was then accused of using an expired press card. Bunny said Pov used to help at a media institution in 2018 and that was when he was issued the ID card.

Bunny said he didn’t know the media institution’s name but that it had been asked to come and vouch for Pov. 

“I think it is an intention to disturb the feeling in voting,” he said. “We are worried about the pressure. It makes our members who are working feel scared.”

Rights group Licadho said Pov had been released around 2:30 p.m. The NGO also posted earlier today about intimidation tactics at polling stations, including the presence of local authorities at the polling centers, including some who were counting and taking down names of voters.

Chhoeun Sochet, Kandal provincial police chief, said there was no arrest of a Candlelight official in the province. “There is no arrest. At this time, the election process across Kandal province is going smoothly.”

District police chief Mean Samang said there was no arrest of any Candlelight Party member but confirmed the detention of a bag-snatching suspect.

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