Former Cambodia Daily reporter escorted from outside Supreme Court

By: Johanna Chisholm - Posted on: November 16, 2017 | Cambodia

Len Leng was standing outside the Supreme Court during the hearing over the dissolution of the CNRP, before she was escorted away by security personnel and later detained for questioning by the police

Cambodian Buddhist monks) walk as police officers block a street near the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 16 November 2017 Photo: Mak Remissa

A former Cambodia Daily journalist, Len Leng, who was escorted from outside the Supreme Court this morning for not having a press pass, is being questioned at the Chaktomuk commune police office.

The Phnom Penh Post was the first to report that, despite assurances that today’s hearing on the dissolution of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) would be open to the public, security guards removed Leng after she was unable to provide press credentials, despite her not making an attempt to enter the court. 

Leng is now waiting at the Chaktomuk commune police office for further information and has already been questioned. Swift News, a local media outlet, reported that she was initially taken in for questioning under suspicion of “pretending to be a journalist”.

Ananth Baliga, a reporter for the Phnom Penh Post, confirmed that when Leng was first taken in fellow reporters were struggling to locate her.

“There is some confusion about her whereabouts,” Baliga said to Southeast Asia Globe.

He later confirmed that she was taken to the Chaktomuk commune police office for questioning.

Security is extremely tight in the country’s capital today, with barricades and policemen guarding access to the court blocks away from where the hearing is taking place. Only businesses and people living in the four-block radius were granted access past the blockades.

Earlier this morning, a handful of journalists were granted access to the hearing, but only after being patted down and asked to hand over their cameras and cellphones.

Another larger group of journalists and photographers are camped outside of the courtroom and are waiting for the handing down of the verdict.

A Khmer reporter from Voice of America said that one of their reporters who was granted access to the hearing was told that the proceedings could go well into the afternoon.

The Supreme Court of Cambodia is currently deciding whether or not the main opposition party will be dissolved following a complaint by the Ministry of the Interior that they were attempting to conspire with foreigners.

The complaint was lodged last month, alleging that the opposition was attempting to stage a ‘colour revolution’ – a reference to the popular uprisings that have seen the overthrowing of major rulers around the world, such as the ‘green revolution’ that sparked the Arab Spring back in 2011.