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Hun Sen aide held in Koh Kong

Less than a week after one of his Cabinet members was arrested, another of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s coterie has run afoul of the law.

A man identified as a personal assistant to the premier and a member of his personal bodyguard unit was detained for questioning yesterday for allegedly using a gun, an electric baton and handcuffs to attack four men, an official said yesterday.

Lay Menglaing, chief of the minor crime police office in Koh Kong province, said three of the premier’s bodyguards were also detained over the incident.

“The prosecutor asked me to file the report and evidence in order for the court to take legal action,” Lay Menglaing said.  “We have to obey the law regardless if he’s a senior official or someone else.”

He told the Post that Bun Sokha, who he referred to as deputy chief of staff of the Hun Sen bodyguard unit, and his guards had beaten the four victims on Sunday evening at the Koh Kong City hotel in Khemarak Phoumin town.  

Sang Thairath, 32, a guest who had checked out earlier in the day, returned to the hotel at 11pm to look for a necklace he believed he had left in his room, which at that point was occupied by Bun Sokha and his wife, Lay Menglaing said.

After answering the door, Bun Sokha’s wife called her husband, who returned to the hotel in an “intoxicated manner” and began arguing with the man and a hotel security guard before ordering his guards to beat them.

Another man and a military police officer who attempted to intervene were also attacked, he said.

“Now, both victims and criminals stayed at the police station, and we questioned all of them. The … military police officer said the criminal used an electric baton and threatened the victims with his gun,” Lay Menglaing said.

“Bun Sokha said that the necklace owner argued with him, so he ordered his bodyguards to beat him. Some lost their teeth. Bun Sokha admitted that he physically attacked the victim,” he said.

He added that the four victims – Sang Thairath; Norng Suden; hotel security guard Phat Sokha; and military police officer Eng Kosal – had filed a complaint against Bun Sokha and bodyguards Som Veasna and Meng Chheangly.

No complaint was filed against a third bodyguard present, who was identified as Bun Sokha’s driver.

As of 4pm yesterday, Bun Sokha and his bodyguards were still being questioned, according to Lay Menglaing.

Victim Sang Thairath told the Post that on Sunday night, he went to the room he had stayed in to look for the necklace but was refused entrance, after which Bun Sokha arrived with his bodyguards and beat him.

“I filed a complaint yesterday to police to take legal action against those perpetrators,” he said.

Hing Bun Heang, commander of Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit and deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, confirmed yesterday that Bun Sokha is a personal assistant to Hun Sen and deputy chief of staff at the bodyguard unit.

“Bun Sokha brought his wife and children to visit Koh Kong because he was at Preah Vihear during Khmer New Year,” he said. “The case is solved.”

However, Lim Leang Se, deputy director of Hun Sen’s Cabinet, said he had never heard of Bun Sokha.

“I don’t know him. I never hear about this name,” he said.

One week ago, Ken Sara, a member of Hun Sen’s cabinet and a speechwriter for the premier, was arrested for drunkenly firing his gun and assaulting a motodop.

He was subsequently sacked and is awaiting trial at Prey Sar prison.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chhay Channyda and Lieng Sarith at newsroom@phnompenhpost.com

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