A former CNRP commune councilor was attacked by two unidentified men on a motorbike in Phnom Penh on Monday, adding to a string of assaults on politicians and activists from the banned political party.
In a photo that was widely shared on social media on Monday, Khiev Din, the former council member for Pur Senchey district’s Kakab I commune, was attacked from behind with an iron bar by two unidentified men riding a motorbike.
Din, 65, told VOD that the two men struck him while he was driving a motorbike to pick up his grandson from school on Monday morning, and the blow injured him. He said he considered the attack a political threat because of his previous role with the opposition party.
“I have never had such an experience before,” Din said. “I also have never had an argument with any people. It was time for me to get my grandchild from school, and that is the only work I have. I just stay at home.”
Din said he received 10 stitches after the attack and was still feeling dizzy as he spoke to VOD on Tuesday.
Pur Senchey district police chief Morn Vuthy said he had not heard of the case when asked by VOD on Monday, but said he would assign an officer to investigate.
“Officers might have gotten to the case before me,” Vuthy said. “Attacking another is wrong and we have to enforce the law.”
Am Sam Ath, deputy director of monitoring at Licadho, said the number of attacks on former CNRP activists was rising, and authorities had failed to find the perpetrators in previous cases.
Since the primary opposition party to the ruling CPP was declared illegal in November 2017, at least 10 former CNRP activists and politicians had reportedly been attacked, Ath said. Within one week in September, a former CNRP commune chief and the ex-bodyguard of former CNRP president Sam Rainsy were attacked by unknown assailants, shortly after Rainsy announced he would return to Cambodia in November. More than 150 former CNRP activists were summoned for questioning last year, according to previous reports.
Ath said that if the police fail to identify and prosecute perpetrators again, the public will think that the attack is political persecution or a threat.
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanroth said violence against opposition activists and supporters amounted to political persecution.
“If one sees the things that happened and the perpetrators are not punished by law, it is impunity and it is also injustice in society,” he said.