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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Phnom Penh Regime Said Worried More by Success than Failure of Heng Peou Arrest

Phnom Penh Sralanh Khmer in Cambodian
05 Sep 06

Heng Peou, former Phnom Penh municipal police commissioner and former adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen whom the Phnom Penh regime has accused of crimes, now has returned from Malaysia back to Singapore as an ordinary tourist. Meanwhile, the Phnom Penh authorities could only say that they continue to wait for cooperation from all Interpol member countries (184 countries) as before in order to get Heng Peou for prosecution in Cambodia.

This former adviser to PM Hun Sen was held for a few hours by the Singaporean police on Thursday night, 31 August, because his visa expired, but was later released and allowed to visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday evening. However, a reliable source said that Heng Peou has left Malaysia and returned to Singapore, and is now preparing to go to a third country for political asylum.

An Interior Ministry official familiar with the Interpol told Sralanh Khmer yesterday morning that Heng Peou left Malaysia for Singapore after he renewed his visa, and now plans to go to a European country, possibly Norway.

However, a report by a government official claimed that Heng Peou continues to be in hiding in Malaysia and the two countries (Malaysia and Singapore) do not pay any attention to the request of the Cambodian authorities to deport Heng Peou back to Cambodia. The source further said that the Cambodian authorities had learned about Heng Peou's arrest by the Singaporean police from the press and did not receive any official notification from either the Singaporean or Malaysian authorities. It appears that the latter do not heed the request of the Cambodian authorities or the Interpol red notice to the 184 countries.

Kev Vanthan, deputy chief of the Cambodian Interpol bureau, claimed that the Cambodian authorities continue to wait for cooperation from Interpol member countries, and Cambodia hopes to get Heng Peou back. This deputy chief of the Interpol bureau also disclosed that the Singaporean authorities had sent Heng Peou to Malaysia because he went to Singapore through Malaysia; consequently, Heng Peou has the right to stay in Malaysia for another month.

The Interior Ministry official said that according to Kev Vanthan, it appears that the Singaporean and Malaysian authorities do not consider Heng Peou a fugitive criminal as accused by the Cambodian authorities and tribunal, because these two countries do not arrest Heng Peou as requested by the Cambodian authorities.

Nevertheless, Kev Vanthan affirmed, "We are waiting for cooperation from Interpol member countries. Now, we are making contacts. We hope that thanks to this good cooperation among the Interpol members, wherever Heng Peou goes he will be observed because we have the red notice for his arrest. We hope that fellow Interpol member states will arrest him for us."

Asked why the Interpol branches in Singapore and Malaysia do not arrest Heng Peou and extradite him to Cambodia (now), Kev Vanthan claimed that the two countries do not have an extradition treaty with Cambodia. Asked whether Heng Peou would disclose more documents, Kev Vanthan said he did no know.

Told that NGOs were concerned about Heng Peou's safety if he was sent back to Cambodia, as in the case of Ho Sok [slain Interior Ministry state secretary of the royalist party], Kev Vanthan said that this question should be raised with the spokesman, for he was only an Interpol police officer.

Heng Peou's defense lawyer David Chen claimed that Heng Peou is staying at a safe place under UNHCR protection.

An Interior Ministry official said that a few days before the Singaporean authorities detained him Heng Peou met with UNHCR representatives twice. During these meetings, Heng Peou showed them documents in the forms of tapes and other proof, which he has kept abroad for a long time. The same official further said that because of these voice recordings and other documents, the UNHCR officials are going to grant him an asylum in a third country, for should he be sent back to Cambodia he would be silenced like General Ho Sok of the FUNCINPEC [National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia] Party in the Interior Ministry during the bloody coup of 5-6 July 1997.

David Chen stated that Heng Peou is staying in a safe haven and is seeking political asylum from the UNHCR. The lawyer went on to say that Heng Peou is safe and is no longer worried about being hunted down by the Cambodian authorities who want to get him back to Cambodia.

A source close to National Police Director-General Hok Langdi said that the Phnom Penh regime is worried that foreign authorities might arrest Heng Peou and send him to their court. They are afraid that Heng Peou would further reveal to the foreign court the crimes of the Cambodian leaders because of the tape recordings and other documents in his possession. However, if Heng Peou is arrested by the authorities of any country and sent back to Cambodia, then it would be all right. That is why the Cambodian authorities are concerned more by the success of the foreign authorities in arresting Heng Peou than by their failure

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