Nat’l Police snubs Rainsy’s claims

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National Police chief Neth Savoeun. Heng Chivoan

The National Police on Saturday maintained that its chief, Neth Savoeun, and his family had no intention to flee the country after acting president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy accused Savoeun of corruption.

On Friday, Rainsy – who fled to live abroad since 2015 to escape a slew of court charges and convictions – alleged that Savoeun, his wife and three daughters had acquired citizenships from Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Cyprus to prepare for their departure from Cambodia.

“The Hun Sen-led government is about to fall,” Rainsy wrote on his Facebook page.

He also said Savoeun had committed corruption involving millions of dollars and transferred the money overseas.

In a public statement issued on Saturday, a National Police spokesperson clarified that Savoeun had no history of fleeing the country and that it was unnecessary for a “dignitary” like Savoeun to respond to Rainsy.

Calling Rainsy the leader of an “illegal rebel group”, referring to the CNRP, the spokesman said Rainsy had made “several attempts to produce fake news and fabricate the truth, to slander and cause damage to the dignity of [Neth] Savoeun”.

“Neth Savoeun is [a] high-level leader of the National Police who always shares happiness and suffering with [the] Cambodian [people].

“He always cares about the security and safety of every citizen. Never in history has he fled the country, committed treason, betrayed his citizens, caused turmoil or incited any actions which [might] destroy the nation and disturb people’s peace, unlike convict Sam Rainy and his group,” the spokesman was quoted as saying.

Despite levelling accusations against Savoeun, Rainsy called on him and the armed forces to turn their backs on Hun Sen and have the prime minister arrested.

In a recent interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA), Rainsy said Savoeun was unable to respond to his claims because he had evidence, citing Savoeun’s identity cards and passports from Saint Kitts and Nevis and Cyprus which he allegedly obtained through special investment schemes.

Rainsy said that based on his research, foreign nationals could pay from $500,000 to acquire citizenship from Saint Kitts and Nevis and Cyprus.

According to Henley & Partners, a citizenship and residence planning consultancy firm, “Cypriot citizenship might be given to wealthy individuals who invest €2.15 million [$2.43 million] into the country and meet certain other requirements”.

Rainsy stressed that if Savoeun rejected his accusations, that would mean the latter had cancelled his other citizenships.

Meanwhile, political analyst Em Sovannara said Rainsy’s allegations could cause breakup within the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

“He did so intending to cause cracks within the ruling party, to make them [CPP officials] confront and lose trust in each other,” Sovannara said.

He said the CNRP used to receive similar treatments from the CPP. But lately, it is the latter that is under attack from the former. Politicians had lost their moral sense.”