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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Who does Kem Ley's killing ‘benefit’, asks PM

Hun Sen speaks during an inauguration ceremony yesterday, where he warned against calling Kem Ley’s death political. Photo supplied
Hun Sen speaks during an inauguration ceremony yesterday, where he warned against calling Kem Ley’s death political. Photo supplied

Who does Kem Ley's killing ‘benefit’, asks PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday called for calm in the wake of the slaying of political analyst Kem Ley, though appeared to cast aspersions in the direction of the opposition party by asking “who benefited” from a crime that made the government look bad.

Speaking to a gathering of military police, the premier again condemned Sunday’s shooting of the prominent government critic and called for authorities to find and punish the perpetrators or “conspiracy” behind the murder, while also announcing the government would begin a “campaign” to clamp down on crime and increase security.

While 44-year-old suspect Oeut Ang claimed he shot Ley over a debt in a confession video uploaded just hours after the crime, many were quick to label the slaying political, among them opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who flatly accused the state of involvement, while noting past assassinations of government critics.

Yesterday, Hun Sen also discussed the possibility of a political motive behind the killing, though not the government’s.

“This is a huge loss and impacts the government’s image. Who gains to benefit from such a case which happened at the same time the government is talking about peace and safety for the people? . . . This point seems to be a mockery of us,” Hun Sen said.

“On the one hand, the government suffers a huge impact for the image created of a lack of so-called competence in providing security, and on the other hand, the issue has immediately been painted a colour [suggesting] political characteristics.

“Therefore, I hope that our people will allow the competent ministries and institutions to work thoroughly and avoid turning this tragedy into a political issue . . . I hope other politicians will not use this issue to politicise, incite and turn the nation to chaos.”

Responding yesterday via email, Cambodia National Rescue Party president Sam Rainsy said Hun Sen was adding “insult to injury and death” and had gone beyond “any possible limit on indecency”.

After again reiterating his accusation of government involvement, he also added that Kem Ley had actually been helping the CNRP with policy development and consulting, which he alleged “might have contributed to his murder”.



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Khspartacus's picture

Dr. Kem Ley talked a lot about the possibility of losing land to Vietnam through land concession to Vietnamese companies near Cam-Viet border. Obviously, one place is believed to be controlled by Vietnamese soldiers. He always talked to the points in which more or less bad people are losing their benefits.

Samdech's picture

This assassination was political as soon as poor Dr. Kem Ley was shot, before any opposition outcry. So where is the logic of Hun Sen that this isn't a political issue? Does he think the Cambodian public are that naive? - obviously so.

Let's get one thing straight, this was a carefully planned and executed political assassination by the CPP, whether it was directly sanctioned by Hun Sen or not. CPP have a clear history of killing political opponents so obviously the smoking gun is pointing at them, and apart from their history for such matters they had a clear motive to silence Dr. Kem Ley.

Despite the crocodile tears exhibited by Hun Sen and his call for a thorough investigation etc, justice will unfortunately unlikely be served - Leopards don't change their spots.