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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun siblings slam Global Witness report as ‘conspiracy’

Prime Minister Hun Sen posted an old celebratory photo on Facebook yesterday as he praised his children’s social media offensive. Facebook
Prime Minister Hun Sen posted an old celebratory photo on Facebook yesterday as he praised his children’s social media offensive. Facebook

Hun siblings slam Global Witness report as ‘conspiracy’

Three of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s children took to social media yesterday to slam a report that revealed details of the ruling family’s business empire and alleged they amassed a “vast fortune”, while the premier himself uploaded an old picture of the family celebrating in his office.

In statements on their respective Facebook pages, the premier’s daughter Hun Mana and sons Hun Manet and Hun Manith, criticised Global Witness’s “attack”, with Mana dismissing the group’s report, which is largely based on the government’s own data, as “lies and deceit” that would in fact “help my father in the coming election”.

“We very much understand your intention toward my Father and my Family,” wrote Hun Mana, a business mogul who Global Witness linked to at least 22 companies.

“And as expected every time when we are near election time, your organization always come out with something to try to tarnish my Father [sic] reputation.”

Read more: Inside the Hun family's business empire

The prime minister did not respond directly to the report but uploaded screen grabs of his children’s statements to Facebook alongside photos of the family celebrating and toasting in his office. “Today, my sons and daughters expressed themselves on social media,” he stated.

Attempts were made to reach all the siblings for comment yesterday.

Late last night in response to inquiries about her Facebook post, Mana in a text message said she did not “not intend to explain myself on a provocative articles that you have posted”.

“I just want to say that It’s unbelievable that your organization deliberately lie to the public to get our reaction,” she said.

“I don’t understand what you and your organizations are trying to achieve by doing this politically motivated work. I do not want to be involved in this crazy politically motivated agenda of yours. Please go back to consult with Global Witness for a better way to discredit my family.”

The report analysed the Ministry of Commerce’s business registry and linked 27 relatives of the premier to 114 domestic companies, which span 20 sectors and had an initial share capital of more than $200 million.

It accused the family of flouting Cambodia’s laws to build the “empire” and said the findings suggested “grand corruption”.

Interactive: Explore the Hostile Takeover data

Numerous global media outlets including the New York Times, the Guardian, TIME magazine, and the Financial Times published stories yesterday morning based on an embargoed copy of the research provided in advance to the press, a common practice with such reports.

However, the premier’s children yesterday each attempted to paint its release as a conspiracy between Global Witness, the Post and the Cambodia Daily.

Manith, a military general, whose directorship of an electricity company was highlighted in the report as a breach of Cambodian law, called it a “well coordinated attack” between the three organisations to “defame the Hun family”.

“Full of mistakes and wrong informations [sic] as usual,” he wrote.

Manet, who was not directly linked to a company but whose wife holds stakes in eight firms, also linked the report’s release to the upcoming election and also alluded to a conspiracy.

In a statement yesterday, Global Witness’s co-founder Patrick Alley stood by the report, noting it was based on official information, which members of the Hun family “presumably provided to the government”.

“Instead of simply denying the evidence, Hun Sen and his family members should make full public declarations of their assets including all existing connections to domestic and international companies, whether those connections are formal or informal,” Alley said.

CNRP lawmaker Son Chhay, a long-time anti-corruption crusader, yesterday said the report further established what Cambodians had long-known: that the country’s economic growth had been disproportionately enjoyed by a privileged handful.

“You can see the large difference between the rich and the poor,” Chhay said, also noting a private sector built on political connections discouraged foreign investment. “The report doesn’t surprise anyone who is already familiar with what has been happening.”



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Don Rennie's picture

Dear Shaun and Seangly,

As Shakespeare once wrote, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" is accurate here.

Hun Mana has truly stated the opposite of reality. The Global Witness report is very accurate with facts and details that have been documented previously.

This GW report is not a conspiracy concocted by the Phnom Penh Post or the Cambodian Daily. Articles released by the New York Times and the Financial Times in London were also published during a time frame similar to the Post's published article.

In other words, this report has reached the eyes and minds of the international community of donors and investors. American and European lawmakers will read this report; guaranteed.

Contrary to Hun Mana's assertion, this report, if read by Khmer citizens in Cambodia, will place another nail in the political coffin of the PM. This report will not help the PM in the upcoming election. The CPP and the PM are not liked by the majority of Cambodian voters.

The Anti-corruption Unit should now do their job and investigate the Global Witness report in its entirety. The facts as stated in the report are staggering and significant. A transparent investigation is called for.

On the other hand, the ACU is in reality the Pro-Corruption Unit.

Previous reports and information from the American State Department a few years ago placed the Hun family assets at between $500 million to $1 billion.

What is interesting to note is that there was no mention of the Hun family's 40% stake in and relationship with Canadia Bank in the GW report.

The GW report is not new knowledge or information for well informed people. Global Witness is simply adding additional details with its own independent analysis and presenting the information in a new way.

The lack of respect for the intelligence of the Cambodian people as demonstrated by the recent Hun family comments is obvious.

In general, people will lie about money. The international English language press organizations are not liars. Their job is to factually report news. No one is trying to defame the Hun family. The facts and information are just real facts and real information.

The Global Witness report is important news, and the information will circle the globe a few times.

Smart people know when to keep their mouth shut. Members of the Hun family do not understand this "critical thinking" concept.


Samdech's picture

I really shouldn't be surprised anymore, but I am - the level of shameless entitlement by the Hun Sen family is unbelievable. One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to see the level of corruption operated by the Hun Sen crime syndicate throughout the country and the resulting level of wealth inequality.

The sad part about it is that these people genuinely don't care about the poor average Cambodian, they are only interested in squeezing as much wealth out of Cambodia while they can from whatever corrupt means.

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