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BGU instructed to stop taking money

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Members of the elite Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit march in a parade celebrating the group’s anniversary in 2016 in Kandal province. Hong Menea

BGU instructed to stop taking money

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU) has told its soldiers to stop asking for money from provincial and district officials and national and international guests without authorisation, lest they face penalties or dismissal.

An order to this effect was signed by Hing Bun Heang, the deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of the BGU, on July 12, and was obtained by The Post on Thursday.

It said the directive came after senior officers were made aware that members of the BGU had made personal requests to national and international guests for money without an order from a superior officer.

“The soldiers of the bodyguard unit who are tasked to fulfill the mission targets at various cities and provinces, must immediately stop asking money from national and international guests, or district and provincial governors from now onwards,” the order says, adding that only Commander Bun Heang and General Huy Piseth can now authorise such requests.

Bun Heang stressed in the order that “if there are any cases contrary to the above order, that soldier shall be held accountable and face penalties or dismissal from the bodyguard unit or the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces”.

BGU spokesman Ya Touch declined to comment on the matter while Bun Heang could not be reached.

Cambodia-based Affiliated Network for Social Accountability director San Chey said bodyguards are part of the government’s armed forces, so the funding for their missions come from the national budget.

“I think asking money from a local authority when on a mission is bad and can damage the BGU’s reputation. It can lead to conflicts of interest,” Chey said.

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