Foreign eco-activist arrested in P'Penh
23 Feb 2015 at 17:31
WRITER: KYODO NEWS
A foreign environmental activist critical of the government was arrested Monday for overstaying his visa, a local rights group and police sources said.
Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor of rights group Licadho, said Alex Gonzalez-Davidson was arrested around 1pm at a restaurant in Phnom Penh.
When approached for comment, Kirt Chantharith, spokesman of the national police, confirmed the arrest but could not provide details while other police sources said Mr Gonzalez-Davidson, a Spanish national, was arrested for overstaying.
"He is now being held at the Immigration Police Department, opposite Phnom Penh International Airport, and he will be deported today," one of the police sources said.
The arrest came just hours after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the activist should leave Cambodia at least for a while or be blacklisted from the country.
Mr Gonzalez-Davidson's visa expired Friday and the government refused to renew it. He vowed to remain in the country even after the expiration, in defiance of a warning from the authorities that he would face deportation.
Mr Gonzalez-Davidson is legally entitled to stay for up to 30 days after the expiration date, but he has to pay a fine of $5 per day.
Mr Gonzalez-Davidson is a co-founder of Mother Nature, a non-governmental organisation that is actively protecting Cambodia's forests and conserving its environment. Most recently he was highly critical of a government plan to build a new hydropower station in the country's southwestern province of Koh Kong.