Minor Party Founder Arrested Over Forgery Charge

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Heart Party founder Seam Pluk and his lawyer Choung Choungy leave the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh on December 24, 2021. (Ouch Sony/VOD)

The founder of a minor party was arrested and imprisoned after failing to show up for questioning for allegedly using forged documents while trying to register his party last year.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police spokesperson San Sokseyha said Thursday that Seam Plok had been arrested Wednesday morning at a public place in Phnom Penh based on a court order.

Asked whether others were wanted for the alleged crime, Sokseyha said Plok was the only one so far being sought.

According to a court order dated April 27, Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge Li Sokha ordered that Plok be placed in pretrial detention at Prey Sar Prison for forgery under articles 626, 627 and 628. He faces one to three years in prison for both forgery and use of a forged document.

Plok is the founder of the Cambodia National Heart Party, and had been previously ordered to appear for questioning at court on April 4 and before April 25.

The Interior Ministry rejected the Heart Party’s application last year, saying the thumbprints from supporters needed to register included fakes. The ministry also accused the party of being backed by exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who has been convicted of a series of crimes, including defamation.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Khieu Sopheak said earlier this week that Plok would not be allowed out of the country’s borders if he tried to escape.

Plok’s lawyer Choung Chou Ngy said he would meet his client tomorrow to discuss next steps. He added that he believed previous court orders against Plok had already expired.

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