Thursday, October 17, 2013

Undercover cops routinely infiltrate rallies

Heightened government monitoring of monks’ increasingly visible role at these rallies has led the Independent Monk Network to form a three-member team dedicated to photographing people they believe are undercover police at demonstrations, founder But Buntenh told the Post. “When police take our picture, we take their picture back,” Buntenh chuckled.

An undercover police officer is helped from the scene after being beaten at a rally at Freedom Park on Sunday marking World Teachers’ Day. HENG CHIVOAN

Undercover cops routinely infiltrate rallies

When teachers union supporters at Freedom Park caught sight of a gun at the hip of a purported journalist snapping photographs at their peaceful rally on Sunday morning, they wasted little time stripping him of his gun – and clothes – and beating him.

The group had unwittingly outed the man – whose press credential identified him as a reporter for a website called MID PP – as an undercover police officer.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith yesterday identified the man to the Post as Poerung Choeun, a military officer working with the research and security office of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit.
Police forces across the globe routinely investigate crimes and gather invaluable intelligence using undercover officers. But NGOs, monks and a politician yesterday said the Cambodian government is consistently sending undercover police to political demonstrations primarily as an intimidation tactic, which has been used even more since July’s national election.
“It’s very questionable, how [the government] uses these public servants to do all this,” Yeng Virak, executive director of the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), said. 
Protesters at the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association turned on Choeun – who witnesses say was photographing monks at the rally – soon after Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Mu Sochua noticed his weapon and confronted him. 
His cover blown, Choeun endured blows from the angry crowd before police were able to separate him from his assailants. 
Choeun was treated and released from Calmette Hospital on Sunday, and Phnom Penh municipal police are investigating the incident after he filed an official complaint, Lieutenant General Vong Pisen, deputy commander of the National Military Police, said.
The attack marks the first time protesters physically attacked an undercover officer at a demonstration, military police spokesman Kheng Tito said yesterday, but not the first aggressive action against one.
Land rights activists surrounded and chased Sor Chenda away from a demonstration at Wat Phnom last month, after he admitted his identity as an undercover officer posing as a Voice of America photographer. The Boeung Kak and Borei Keila community demonstrators chased off several others they accused of working with police at the protest three weeks ago.
Those incidents seem to have done little to dull authorities’ belief in the strategy’s value.
“We will increase and strengthen our undercover police presence at demonstrations in the future,” Tito said yesterday. Undercover officers deployed at demonstrations gather useful information from those in attendance, he added.

A rise in undercover police noticed at rallies had already become apparent in the past couple of months, Mathieu Pellerin, a consultant for rights group Licadho, said.
“Most of the gatherings following the elections have been met with a totally unjustifiable amount of armed forces,” Pellerin said. “It’s just kind of a basic intimidation tactic.”
No law on the books in Cambodia prevents law enforcement from using undercover police at political demonstrations, Virak said. But the government uses these officers excessively in an attempt to create a chilling effect on protesters.

Heightened government monitoring of monks’ increasingly visible role at these rallies has led the Independent Monk Network to form a three-member team dedicated to photographing people they believe are undercover police at demonstrations, founder But Buntenh told the Post. “When police take our picture, we take their picture back,” Buntenh chuckled. 

But the government’s effort to silence political dissent among the robed ranks is no laughing matter. 

Even before the Kingdom’s highest monks called on the clergy to refrain from joining any political demonstrations last month, Buntenh said, photographs of monks taken by undercover police have been used as blackmail.

“They used to say ‘I have your picture … and if you do not stop [demonstrating], I will take this picture to your [superior]’,” Buntenh said.

Several unconfirmed incidents of people suffering retribution at the hands of their bosses due to their attendance at political demonstrations have come to the attention of Rotana Pin, an opposition lawmaker-elect.

Two teachers and a secretary at Sar Mor primary school in Takeo province filed complaints against school officials after, they say, the school system transferred them all to schools far away from their homes because of their attendance at CNRP pre-election rallies.

Evidence of their employees’ attendance at the rallies gathered by undercover police likely tipped off Sar Mor officials to their employees off-hours activities, Pin said.

“It is not right, this kind of intimidation,” said Pin, who also objected to police out of uniform showing up at peaceful rallies armed. “We don’t want any undercover officer with a gun standing next to us.”

Unlike in the past, however, Pin said these intimidation tactics lately seem to show less success in thwarting demonstrators.

“People get a lot more information than in the past. They know their rights.”


Anonymous said...

Help one one one another

People have spoken loud and clear in peace

Anonymous said...

Oh! Khmer authority,

How can you only be good at abusing your own people?
Now money and power that is not yours blind you from seeing pain and suffering of Cambodians.

Do you have any conscience?

In Khmer Rouge 's period, Vietnam triggered Khmers from different region , to hate one another by labelling as enemies then killed one another's.

After nationalists' cleansing from intellectuals, both in Cambodia and abroad, Vietnam continued to kill ex- revolutionists to cut down the resistance.

After enslaving Khmers under the name of gratitude, Vietnam and lost soul hierarchy assisted Vietnam under the plan of K 5.

While looting all assets left until 1979 ,Vietnam continued to invade Cambodia and left their armies in controlling the so called Democratic Kampuchea.

Peace agreement in Paris, born a constitution of Cambodia in the hope of transforming from slavery to a Independent Cambodia. But induced corruption with very low salary, Cambodia once again had been under turmoil. Oppression and manipulation have allowed so called khmer by identity but different origin and the abusing power people get rich and richer where Cambodians own less and controlled.

After the death of king father, Vietnam increases its momentum to control and continue to feed its economy out of Cambodian slavery. Surprised, blinded by power, those who have lived out of Cambodians suffering of all forms facing lots of resistances from every corners.

Although twisting , national constitution seems to be on the bright side. Majority of Cambodians are now alerting to the fact that authority indeed has been abusing the laws. International communities also clearly see that.

Now , the real challenge has come about.

Please note that it was tight in Khmer Rouge , but CHANGE did eventuates. CHANGE is now in its momentum because Cambodians can NO longer endure the suffering.

So many in the force change their perception, and CHANGE will become unavoidable.

Down the dictatorship !

Rise Khmers rise! For our country and our children survival!

Neang SA

Anonymous said...

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ឬក៏ពូកែតែផ្ចាញ់ពលរដ្ឋ ដែលត្រូវគេប្លន់ឯ បូរីកីឡានឹងបឹងកក់ រីឯអង្គរក្សខ្លួនធ្វើអ្វីសុទ្ធតែត្រូវទាំងអស់!