Dy Vichea – son of the late National Police chief Hok Lundy and son-in-law to Prime Minister Hun Sen – has been appointed director of the Central Security Department at the Ministry of Interior, the National Police said yesterday.
National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said that Major General Vichea had been climbing through the ranks for almost 20 years and was a natural choice for the role, though others yesterday questioned whether the appointment was motivated by nepotism.
“His Excellency Dy Vichea has gone through a myriad of low-status [positions], and the last post for him was deputy director of the Central Security Department, so assuming the post as the director is appropriate in the hierarchy,” Chantharith said.
The position will put Vichea in charge of the National Police, internal intelligence and the police’s bodyguard unit, among other departments.
Vichea is married to Hun Sen’s daughter Hun Mana, director of Bayon Radio and TV. His father, Hok Lundy, was one of Hun Sen’s closest allies before his death in a helicopter crash in 2008. During his tenure, he was accused multiple times of using strong-arm tactics and even murder in the service of the ruling party.
The acknowledgement of Vichea’s appointment – which was made official on April 8 – came just days after Hun Sen made a speech swearing off nepotistic appointments and attempting to quash speculation that he would appoint his son to a cabinet position.
Chan Soveth, a senior investigator with the rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that Vichea’s appointment was a clear-cut example of nepotism and noted that in developed countries, positions are filled based on the competence of the candidates.
But in Cambodia, he said, “they appoint their own relatives in government institutions because they do not trust one another. The prime minister appoints his scions for major positions, while ministers name their relatives, children, nieces or nephews in some ministries, making the ministries theirs.”
Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that appointing relatives, particularly within the security services, bred bias and could lead to compromised decision-making.
Contact information for Vichea was not available.