South Korea’s Ministry of Justice has become the second of that nation’s ministries to deny it is working with Cambodia’s ambassador to the country, Suth Dina, to clamp down on illegal migrants and political dissent.
Since he was posted to Seoul in April 2014, Ambassador Dina has repeatedly warned anti-government protesters to stay away from demonstrations or face arrest and deportation.
Last month, he posted an image of himself on Facebook with an unnamed man he said worked in a South Korean “special intelligence unit” and was seeking to break up a network of political activists.
Just days later, a video of Dina with three Cambodian workers appeared on his Facebook page, showing the men begging for leniency from Prime Minister Hun Sen for their role in a protest sparked by the January 2014 shooting deaths of at least four people at a garment worker protest in Phnom Penh at which they set alight a picture of the premier.
However, last month, South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had received no request for aid from the Cambodian Embassy.
When subsequently contacted by the Post, the Ministry of Employment and Labor in Seoul directed reporters to the country’s Ministry of Justice, who confirmed that they would work with diplomatic missions in the country if there was a need to investigate “foreign criminals”.
“However, we have confirmed that the Ministry of Justice has not worked with the Cambodian government regarding the aforementioned issue,” an emailed statement from the Ministry of Justice reads.
Neither Dina, who the Post has attempted to contact numerous times, nor Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs could be reached for comment yesterday.
Ear Sophal, an associate professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles described the ambassador’s threats as “inappropriate” behaviour that was all too common in Cambodia.
“The ambassador is doing this to prove his chops to his superiors,” he said.
Coaxing people into making public apologies he said was “taking everything that’s wrong in Cambodia and making it happen in South Korea”.
Additional reporting by Sen David