On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
55°
Rain
H 71° L 58°
  • cloudy-day
    55°
    Current Conditions
    Rain. H 71° L 58°
  • rain-day
    64°
    Evening
    Rain. H 71° L 58°
  • rain-day
    59°
    Morning
    Rain. H 64° L 52°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

World
Cambodia's exiled opposition leader makes it part way home
Close

Cambodia's exiled opposition leader makes it part way home

Cambodia's exiled opposition leader makes it part way home
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Vincent Thian
CORRECTS LOCATION - Cambodia's exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy, left, greets supporters as he arrived at Kuala Lumpur International's Airport in Sepang, Malaysia Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Sam Rainsy landed in Kuala Lumpur in a bid to return to his homeland after Thailand had earlier blocked him from entering. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Cambodia's exiled opposition leader makes it part way home

Cambodia's exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy arrived in Malaysia, making partial progress in his quest to return to his home country to try to oust long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Although he failed to make it to Cambodia on Saturday — the country's Independence Day — he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, "I will go back home, of course. It is my right. And also my duty."

Hun Sen's authoritarian government has vigorously opposed the return of Sam Rainsy and fellow members of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party and declared they would be arrested immediately if they made it onto Cambodian soil.

In a video posted Saturday morning before he boarded a flight from Paris, Sam Rainsy told supporters: "Our victory is getting nearer and nearer. The change of regime through the democratic means will soon arrive and be accomplished."

In what may be a possible turnaround in the Cambodian government's position, its influential deputy prime minister and interior minister, Sar Kheng, said on his Facebook page Saturday, "As of now, there is not any announcement by the Cambodian government to bar culprit Sam Rainsy and his colleagues from entering the country."

Sar Kheng said Sam Rainsy — who has several convictions with prison sentences to serve along with charges pending for several other alleged offenses — can return as an ordinary person but will have to face due justice. Sam Rainsy considers the legal actions political persecution.

It was unclear if Sar Kheng's Facebook post represents government policy. Cambodia's long holiday weekend runs through Tuesday.

Sam Rainsy spoke to reporters briefly on his arrival in Kuala Lumpur, saying he had been invited by Malaysian lawmakers to meet with them on Tuesday. He declared that his visit was private and that he was grateful to the Malaysia authorities.

His comments appeared to sidestep the issue of whether he was interfering with Cambodia's internal affairs while on Malaysian soil. Malaysia and Cambodia are both members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which maintains a policy of noninterference in each other's affairs. Malaysia and Thailand have both hindered the free movement of opposition party leaders, drawing criticism from human rights groups.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said earlier in the week that Malaysia doesn't want to be used as a base for political activists or interfere in the affairs of other countries.

"Keep up the hope. We are on the right track. Democracy will prevail," Sam Rainsy said. "Democracy has prevailed in Malaysia, democracy will prevail in Cambodia. We look up to Malaysia as our model to strengthen democracy in a peaceful way."

In Cambodia on Saturday, Hun Sen and constitutional monarch King Norodom Sihamoni attended a celebration ceremony at Independence Monument in Phnom Penh, the capital.

Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People's Party have a stranglehold on power, which was ensured when Cambodia's high court dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party in late 2017 for allegedly treasonous activities.

The action was seen as a political ploy to ensure victory by Hun Sen's party in the 2018 general election by eliminating the only credible opposition group. Sam Rainsy's party had mounted an unexpectedly strong challenge in 2013 elections.

But he and his colleagues face an uphill battle.

An effort Sam Rainsy made Thursday to fly from Paris to Thailand — Cambodia's western neighbor — was thwarted when Thai Airways refused to let him board. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had said earlier that he would be barred from entering Thailand.

Inside Cambodia, scores of opposition supporters have been arrested in the past few weeks.

Security in Phnom Penh was heavy and especially high Saturday at the border checkpoint at Poipet in the country's northwest, where Sam Rainsy and his top party leaders had announced that they and their supporters would be crossing from Thailand. Traffic to the checkpoint as well as across the border was limited, with Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand reportedly barred from entry.

Other top party members fled into exile after the 2017 crackdown on all opposition to Hun Sen, which also included the shuttering of virtually all critical media and the arrest of the party's other co-founder, Kem Sokha. He was charged with treason, based on his links to a U.S. pro-democracy organization, and is under strict house arrest.

___

Peck reported from Bangkok. Associated Press writers Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Eileen Ng in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Saying it will make the facility so much better, leaders of the Florida Theatre officially launched a capital campaign to complete a $10 million renovation ahead of the 100th anniversary of the downtown landmark.   WOKV first reported about the renovation plans in July, when Mayor Lenny Curry’s budget outline offered up $1 million each of the next five years to match the Florida Theatre Performing Arts Center, Inc, which is the nonprofit that runs the historic venue. Total contribution from both parties combined at $10 million.  INDEPTH: Once in a generation - Florida Theatre looking at $10 million in renovations, upgrades To date, 72 donors have pledged or gifted $2.2 million toward the campaign that quietly began more than two years ago. The Theatre also instituted a $2.50 per ticket fee on all ticket sales that goes to restoration of the facility. That is projected to bring in approximately $1.5 million over the next five years.   “We’re a little over $7 million towards our $10 million goal as of today so we are super excited about all of this”, said Florida Theatre President Numa Saisselin.  Mayor Lenny Curry reflected on the decades of performances he has attended through the years at the Florida Theatre, and he looks forward to seeing the improvements come to fruition after funding was approved.  “Often times usually in a budget as large as ours some real jewels that are in the budget kind of get lost in the conversation so it’s good to be here today because this really is a jewel and a special nugget in the budget that we just put forward”, Curry said.   Theatre operators want to keep the same feel but install completely new seats. Plans involve better addressing ADA regulations- the seating arrangement now pre-dates those rules, according to Saisselin, so while the venue is in compliance, it is not always an ideal arrangement. Beyond that, there are a few different areas to address, with the auditorium remaining the focus. He says they want to upgrade the sound and lighting systems. Not only will this make for a more enjoyable show for you and the artist or event involved, but he says it could actually save FTPAC some money in the future, because currently, if an artist wants a certain speaker setup, the Florida Theatre may have to rent equipment, as an example. Over 3,000 people attend Florida Theatre every week, or 175,000 per year, according to Saisselin.  The work also includes renovating the bathrooms.  Air conditioning is another item on the list- updating the system so that there’s not a constant need for repairs. The iconic marquee and canopy are also in for some work, although Saisselin says they are not changing the overall look. Digital signs were recently installed at the Florida Theatre as a result of funds from a private donor, but Saisselin says there is still internal wiring work to do on the canopy, along with structural repairs. While the canopy and marquee are not original to 1927, Saisselin says he knows it’s how people recognize the venue, and they want to respect that.
  • Officials have closed all public schools in Roanoke, Virginia, as police search for a former U.S. Marine accused of killing his mother's boyfriend in nearby Franklin County. >> Read more trending news  Sheriff's deputies said Michael Alexander Brown, 22, is wanted on suspicion of shooting and killing Rodney Wilfred Brown, 54, last week at the home his mother and Brown shared in Hardy. Here are the latest updates: dfdf Update 9:30 a.m. EST Nov. 14: Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Michael Alexander Brown, 22. Franklin County sheriff's deputies said Brown is wanted on a charge of second-degree murder after his mother's boyfriend, 54-year-old Rodney Wilfred Brown, was found shot dead last week at his home in Hardy. Deputies said Brown deserted his post last month at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where he served as a combat engineer. Thursday's search was prompted by the discovery of his car on a road in Roanoke, officials said. 'It was unknown where Michael may be headed or where he has been staying since leaving his post,' deputies said Sunday in a news release. 'He has been known to live in the woods and frequent National Parks and National Forests. He is believed to be armed with a high-powered rifle and may have access to other weapons.' Deputies urged anyone with information on Brown's whereabouts to contact authorities at 540-483-6662. Update 8:17 a.m. EST Nov. 14: According to WSET, Roanoke police believe Michael Alexander Brown, who is wanted on a murder charge, was 'in the Roanoke area' and may be armed. According to NBC News, Brown, 22, is facing a second-degree murder charge in the Saturday shooting death of 54-year-old Rodney Brown. Police said Michael Brown, who had been a combat engineer at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune before he deserted last month, 'is most likely on foot and possibly looking for transportation,' WSET reported. The suspect, who is white with brown hair and blue eyes, stands 6 feet tall and weighs 145 pounds, WDBJ reported.  Original report: Police in Virginia are 'actively investigating a situation' near a Roanoke's Patrick Henry High School, authorities said early Thursday. As a result, all of the district's public schools are closed, WFXR and WDBJ are reporting. Please return for updates.
  • There's an urgent search underway for a Georgia mother last seen after leaving a college football game in Athens. >> Read more trending news  The Athens-Clarke County Police Department said Linda Christine Tryon, 42, has been missing since Saturday, Nov. 9.  Tryon was last seen in the downtown Athens area during the University of Georgia vs. University of Missouri football game.  According to friends, Tryon left the game after the first quarter and went downtown to a bar. 'This is completely out of character,' a friend of Tryon told WSB-TV. If anyone has any information about her whereabouts, they are urged to call 706-613-3345.
  • The state fire marshal is investigating the source and cause of a massive fire at the old Thunderbird Motor Hotel property on the Arlington Expressway. Wednesday’s fire created a powerful orange glow that could be seen for miles.  Thunderbird was once a popular hangout in the 60’s and 70’s.  No one was injured in the fire.  VIDEO: Fire destroys Arlington building In January the Jacksonville Daily Record reported a South Florida ownership group announced plans to redevelop the 18-acre property into apartments, hotels and retail including a restaurant. 
  • Milder air is returning after a cold Wednesday in NE Florida. But the next weather story may have big impacts on the Friday rush to work.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says we’ll see thickening clouds today with scattered showers developing.  Expect a few rumbles of thunder at times late in the afternoon and evening.  Mike says the best opportunity for rain is 6pm today - 6am on Friday, and there will be times of heavy rain. Highs will be in the upper 60’s to near 70 degrees, so up to 10 degrees warmer than Wednesday.  Showers will linger through the early morning hours Friday, and we’ll be cloudy, damp and breezy to end the week.   The weekend will start off with showers closer to the coast and breezy onshore winds. Showers will gradually end through the afternoon. Sunday will be dry with highs in the lower 60’s.

The Latest News Videos