Malaysia has detained former Cambodian minister of women and veterans’ affairs Mu Sochua, rights groups said yesterday, after Phnom Penh sought her arrest on grounds that she and other self-exiled members of the banned opposition were plotting a coup in trying to return home.
The detention came as Sam Rainsy, the founder of the opposition party, prepared to fly from Paris to Bangkok, vowing to return to Cambodia tomorrow to lead demonstrations against the one-party rule of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
It was unclear if any of the opposition figures abroad would reach Cambodia.
Sam Rainsy yesterday was prevented from checking in for a Paris-to-Bangkok flight. He said that Thai Airways had been asked to refuse to allow him to board, but he would not be deterred from trying again.
Malaysia earlier this week also detained two other opposition leaders who were trying to fly to Thailand.
A dual US-Cambodia citizen, Mu Sochua, 65, is vice president of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and one of the highest-profile opposition leaders detained in Hun Sen’s efforts to prevent their return.
Thailand had denied her entry.
She held a news conference in Indonesia on Wednesday to denounce a crackdown by Cambodian authorities, who have arrested dozens of opposition activists at home and deployed troops along the border ahead of their planned return.
“What do they fear?” she asked. “They totally fear the determination of the people of Cambodia, who are responding positively to our appeal, which is that together we will build a better Cambodia.”
Mu Sochua later flew to Malaysia, only to be detained.
She was being held at the airport in its capital, Malaysian Human Rights Commission official Jerald Joseph said.
Joseph said he had spoken with Mu Sochua, who had been told she would not be deported to Cambodia. It was not immediately clear where authorities would send her.
The Malaysian Immigration Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mu Sochua fled Cambodia in 2017 under threat of arrest amid a mass crackdown on the opposition.
The party’s leader, Kem Sokha, was arrested on treason charges and remains under house arrest. The Cambodian Supreme Court later dissolved the CNRP.
Mu Sochua’s news conference in the Indonesian capital was interrupted by the Cambodian ambassador, who urged that she should not be given a forum.
The Cambodian embassy asked Indonesia, as a fellow member of ASEAN, to detain her.
The embassy sought her deportation to Cambodia “in the true spirit of ASEAN,” it said in a statement, adding that similar requests had been made to neighboring nations.
Instead, Mu Sochua flew to Malaysia, where she said she knew she could also be arrested.
“They will follow me, they will follow us, all the way,” Mu Sochua said.
She has been charged in a plot to topple the government, Cambodian National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said.
“There is an arrest warrant for her, we really want her, but we don’t know what is Malaysia’s position,” he said.
Mu Sochua’s detention in Malaysia is unacceptable, New York-based Human Rights Watch said.
“She’s done nothing wrong, and should be immediately released and allowed to undertake the consultations she planned with the Malaysia government and civil society groups,” Human Rights Watch Asia deputy director Phil Robertson said.
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
It was a much-anticipated milestone likely hastened by COVID-19: New Zealand has reached a population of 5 million people, after citizens and residents rushed home when borders began to close due to the pandemic. New Zealand grew from 4 million to 5 million in 17 years, the quickest rate of growth in the nation’s modern history, Statistics New Zealand said. Migration has been the chief driver for the population of the island-nation, which increased by half a million people in the past six years alone. “The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused unusual international travel and migration patterns in recent months,” Statistics New
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made