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Cambodia Opposition Figure Facing Scandal Linked to Salacious Phone Recordings

FILE - Cambodia's main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party Deputy President and National Assembly Deputy President Kem Sokha greets to his supporters outside the Phnom Penh Municipality Court in Phnom Penh, April 8, 2015. Kem Sokha is facing a scandal related to alleged phone conversations with a mistress.

The vice president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, Kem Sokha, is facing a scandal related to alleged phone conversations with a mistress.

On a Facebook page that was widely shared on social media recently, someone named “Mon Srey” posted what are purported to be conversations between Kem Sokha, who is leading the opposition in the absence of party leader Sam Rainsy, and a woman named “Mom.” The conversations detail daily activities, including sexual trysts.

Party dismisses recordings

The Rescue Party has dismissed the recordings as a fallacious “old trick” by political opponents seeking to discredit party leadership.

Rescue Party spokesman Yem Ponhearith said the party will not spend time investigating the recordings but instead focus on the coming elections in 2017 and 2018. “We are too busy to pay attention to this issue,” he said.

Not the first time

Kem Sokha was embroiled in a similar scandal in 2013, when a purported mistress filed a lawsuit against him. The suit disappeared shortly after the elections.

Kem Ley, a political analyst, called the new Facebook postings “dirty politics” and urged authorities to track down the poster. Personal insults are often used in Cambodian politics, he said, alongside more violent forms of intimidation, including imprisonment, beatings and assassinations.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Khmer Service.