Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trio ‘sorry’ for South Korea protest

Trio ‘sorry’ for South Korea protest

Cambodian migrant workers burn pictures of Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2014 during a demonstration in the South Korea. Photo supplied
Cambodian migrant workers burn pictures of Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2014 during a demonstration in the South Korea. Photo supplied

Trio ‘sorry’ for South Korea protest

With the threat of being investigated by a Korean “special intelligence” unit hanging over their heads, three Cambodian migrant workers in South Korea have made a public apology for burning a picture of Prime Minister Hun Sen and broadcasting the images on Facebook two years ago.

In a video posted yesterday by Cambodian Ambassador to South Korea Suth Dina, Chum Marady, 26; Bun Thon, 22; and Em Rat, 24, are seen sitting with the diplomat seeking clemency for their actions, which occurred during an anti-Hun Sen protest in South Korea in early 2014.

“Now I have had a change of heart when I think about it again,” said Marady, the sole protester to speak in the video. “It is my fault, I’m sorry and I want the Cambodian government’s leader to accept my apology.”

The picture burning in Korea was in response to the shooting of five protesters on Veng Sreng Boulevard, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in January 2014, after security forces opened fire on rock-throwing garment workers demanding a rise to the county’s minimum wage.

Contacted yesterday, Marady reiterated his apology, and said the group of three had come forward after Ambassador Dina posted a public message on Facebook last Thursday, warning that he was working with a special South Korean unit to find illegal migrants in Korea who were behind anti-government protests.

Dina has long-warned migrants in Korea to stay away from anti-government protests and has previously claimed to be working with Korean authorities to break-up networks of activists he says are being led by illegal workers.

In the video, Dina says those who had come forward over the public burning would not face further action.

“They want to show their heart to the Cambodian people and the Cambodian government for their fault in burning the picture of Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2014, in order for Cambodian government to be lenient on them,” he says.

Dina declined to comment further yesterday, but in a post accompanying the video, said he was working with the Korean authorities to find two more protesters involved in the picture burning.

In November, Dina warned expatriates to stay away from a reception for visiting Cambodia National Rescue Party leaders or face “arrest and deportation”.

The Korean Embassy declined to comment yesterday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul could not be reached.

But Yi Sinorn, the president of a CNRP-aligned youth group in Korea, said that the ambassador was drumming up fear to limit freedom of expression.

“I know this story clearly and no Korean authorities have arrested activist Cambodian workers in Korea,” he said. “You know in Korea, everyone has freedom of speech.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all