International Asia Cambodia arrests opposition leader

Cambodia arrests opposition leader

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Cambodia’s opposition leader was arrested while the last remaining independent newspapers in the country was forced to close down in a crackdown ahead of elections.

With the elections scheduled for next year, the worsening climate of political repression deepened with opposition politician Kem Sokha taken from his home in an early-morning raid on Sunday.

He is accused of plotting to overthrow the government with the support of the U.S.

Hours later, the Cambodia Daily, long a champion of human-rights causes, said it would cease business as a result of what it characterized as a politicized tax dispute, said the Wall Street Journal.

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Cambodia’s PM Hun Sen last month called the Cambodia Daily “a thief” and suggested its American founders should “pack up and go.”

On Sunday, his government issued its owners a tax bill for $6.3 million, based on authorities’ own calculations of the paper’s revenue and a 20% profit margin, said The Journal.

The newspaper says it operates at a loss and has offered tax inspectors the opportunity to examine its accounts.

Cambodia’s government has also initiated tax investigations into U.S.-funded broadcasters Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, both of which say they comply with Cambodian law.

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