Cambodia Daily Newspaper To Close After 24 Years

Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha arrested: daughter

Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for more than three decades and has shown no signs of willingness to relinquish power, last month stepped up attacks on the media and non-governmental organizations.

Kem Sokha, 64, has led the main opposition CNRP since his predecessor, Sam Raimsy, resigned in February after party law amendments outlawed political parties led by people with criminal convictions.

Hun Sen was quoted as telling a group of garment factory workers that the "third party" behind the plot was the same as that behind a 1973 coup that is widely believed to have had US support.

The Cambodian Government described the above act as treason and espionage and said the court will handle this case according to the country's regulations.

Charles Santiago, chair of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, called Kem arrest "alarming".

Kem Monovitthya, one of the politician's daughters, said on Facebook that her father had been handcuffed and taken away after hundreds of policemen raided his home.

Fresh News frequently runs leaks from inside the government that often precede an investigation or arrest.

Mr Hun Sen also warned that the CNRP could be dissolved if the opposition party tried to defend Mr Sokha.

The announcement came hours after opposition leader Kem Sokha was arrested and accused of treason.

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During the speech he boasted that the United States was "advising me about strategies to change the dictatorship in Cambodia".

The arrest was one of a series of recent moves against political opponents and organisations deemed critical of Prime Minister Hun Sen's administration.

During Hun Sen's rule Cambodia emerged from the devastating Khmer Rouge genocide to enjoy record years of economic growth of above 7 per cent, but disaffection has been growing and he only just won the 2013 election against a unified opposition.

Ahead of next summer's national polls, the Cambodian strongman has become increasingly alarmist in his speeches, warning of foreign-sponsored "colour revolutions" and the spectre of civil war if he is voted out of office.

In it, Kem Sokha says the United States hired university professors and experts in America and Canada "to advise me on (a) strategy to change the leadership" in Cambodia.

This is not the first time Hun Sen has gone after the media and The Daily directly.

The government last month billed The Daily for $6.4 million in taxes and was later told to pay the bill or "pack up and go".

Last week the U.S. expressed "deep concern" over the state of Cambodia's democracy after the government there ordered out an American NGO and pursued a crackdown on independent media.

It says the hefty bill was invented by the government and not based on an audit of its books.

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