By Taing Sarada | Radio Free Asia | 01 September 2010
Ven. Thach Preichea Koeun, the editor-in-chief of the Prey Nokor News and a monk native from Kampuchea Krom (South Vietnam) who resides at Wat Ang Ta Minh Pagoda, Dangkao district, Phnom Penh city, indicated that, on 29 August, the abbot of the pagoda confiscated his passport as well as his monk ID.
Ven. Thach Preichea Koeun indicated that the measure taken by the abbot was done based on the request made by the Phnom Penh city police.
He also indicated that on 26 August, Kim Van Chheng, a high-ranking official from the ministry of Interior and a personal adviser to Sar Kheng, the minister of Interior, called him and asked him to write a letter promising to stop writing or publishing the Prey Nokor News because Kim Van Chheng accused the newspaper of publishing anti-government articles.
Ven. Thach Preichea Koeun expressed his fear and his great concerns over this issue: “I am fearful and concerned because my documents [ID] and passport were confiscated by the abbot already! I don’t have the right to go anywhere! My newspaper received the proper authorization from the ministry of Information, but they accuse the newspaper of all sorts of things!”
He added also the Prey Nokor News received proper authorization from the ministry of Information.
Touch Naroth, the Phnom Penh city police commissioner, declined to comment on the confiscation of the venerable’s ID and passport.
Ven. Thach Preichea Koeun indicated that in April, the Phnom Penh police force surrounded his monk residence at Wat Botumvatei Pagoda because he asked kids to distribute the Prey Nokor News to the public free of charge, but, the authority accused him of distributing political leaflets instead. He was later chased out of Wat Botumvatei Pagoda by the abbot.