Informal-Workers Union Official Detained While Canvassing Members

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A casino in Poipet in 2012 (Wikimedia Commons)

Police detained an informal-workers union official and placed him in two-week quarantine in Banteay Meanchey province as he was gathering names of members facing economic difficulties amid the nation’s ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

Poipet city deputy police chief Born Seiha said on Wednesday that Kang Nakorn, an official for the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, or IDEA, was brought in after he went to a noodle shop that had previously been visited by people who tested positive for Covid-19. Nakorn had collected as many as 170 names, Seiha said.

Officers had yet to question Nakorn, as he was placed in quarantine at Nimit High School in the city, Seiha said.

“[We] have not arrested him. We called him in for questioning, called him in for questioning for collecting [names], of 170 people. For what purpose?” the deputy police chief said. “People complained to us.”

Seiha said he could not say whether the authorities would release Nakorn after 14 days of quarantine, as authorities were still investigating.

Vorn Pov, the union’s president, said there were others at the noodle shop, so it did not make sense to only detain and quarantine Nakorn.

“A lot of people,” Pov said. “Why was only he taken in?”

Nakorn had collected names and ID numbers of members linked to or facing challenges in relation to Covid-19 cases, Pov said.

“It is just a matter of charity — purely charitable activities, not political incitement,” he said. “So I think it is unusual to call him in for questioning. Yes — it’s regretful.”

He asked for Nakorn’s release, saying he suffered from health problems like high blood pressure.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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