Journalist Nabbed, Questioned for Breaking Curfew, Carrying a Gun

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Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng, center, speaks to officers while monitoring Covid-19 curfews on July 31, 2021, in a photo posted to the Phnom Penh City Hall Facebook page.

Police are questioning a journalist from the online news outlet BCP TV who was caught violating curfew and carrying a gun.

Morn Tev, a 42-year-old reporter for BCP, was stopped on his motorbike while riding along National Road 5 in Chraing Chamreh I commune on Monday night for violating the 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. curfew, said Russei Keo district police chief Heang Thareth on Wednesday.

During the interrogation, police also found a Glock 17 pistol and a walkie talkie, Thareth said. Civilians are banned from owning firearms under Cambodian law, with illegal possession carrying a sentence of six months to 2 years with fines between 500,000 and 2 million riel, or around $125 to $500.

“We are building a case to send [him to court],” Thareth said. 

BCP TV director Chea Eng Long confirmed that Tev was a reporter for the news site covering traffic accidents and crime, but noted that this case was a personal issue for Tev and not related to his job.

“If he violates the professional principles of journalism, I do not know how to help him,” Eng Long said. “I cannot help him because if he uses illegal weapons, I am not responsible for it. It is according to law [enforcement officials] to work on this case.”

Nop Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Journalists Alliance, said journalists found to be illegally possessing firearms should be punished in line with the law, but authorities should clearly investigate the case and ensure the punishment does not go beyond the extent of the crime as an attempt to punish journalists for their work.

“The important thing is to ensure the clear investigation and whether there is enough evidence to support the allegations,” Vy said.

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

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