Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bodyguard unit marks founding with a show of strength, threats

Bodyguard unit marks founding with a show of strength, threats

Members of Hun Sen’s personal bodyguard unit stand in formation during the celebration of its eighth anniversary at its headquarters in Kandal’s Takhmao town yesterday.
Members of Hun Sen’s personal bodyguard unit stand in formation during the celebration of its eighth anniversary at its headquarters in Kandal’s Takhmao town yesterday. Photo supplied

Bodyguard unit marks founding with a show of strength, threats

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s personal bodyguard unit celebrated its eighth anniversary yesterday, with the unit’s leaders praising Hun Sen to a heavily armed audience flanked by tanks, while also warning the opposition not to underestimate it.

Speaking at the unit’s headquarters in Takhmao – adjacent to the premier’s residence – bodyguard chief Hing Bun Heang took the opportunity to directly address the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, a day after the widely condemned arrest of its president, Kem Sokha, over accusations of “treason”.

“During the anniversary we must display our weapons and equipment . . . and keep security and public order in order to show serious unity,” Bun Heang said.

“This unit has the obligation to protect our nation, homeland and security for our Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen,” he added, invoking the premier’s full honorific title.

Turning his attention to the opposition, Bun Heang also boasted about his force’s heavy artillery.

Military hardware on display at the eighth anniversary of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit yesterday.
Military hardware on display at the eighth anniversary of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit yesterday. Photo supplied

“You said it wrong, CNRP,” he said, claiming the unit had 100 tanks, not 50.

Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Khoung Sreng also used the event to criticise the opposition.

“There is only Hun Sen who has the will and love of peace . . . please brothers see his heroism clearly and do not believe the incitement from the foreigners and ill-intended people,” Sreng said. “How much have they ever helped the nation?”

The governor went on to say Sokha deserved to be arrested, and warned the audience not to listen to the lies of those who “represent themselves as the fathers of democracy in Cambodia”.

In an interview after his speech, Bun Heang and his deputy, Deang Sarun, said the unit was prepared to deal with any opposition demonstrations.

The bodyguard unit – officially formed as a separate entity from Brigade 70 in 2009 – previously made headlines in 2015, when members of the force were videotaped brutally beating two opposition lawmakers during a protest outside the National Assembly.

“The bodyguard unit is ready . . . to crack down on crimes as necessary,” Sarun said.

“When there is an issue like a protest or strike to demand something that opposes democracy or breaks the law . . . this force will cooperate with Military Police and National Police to maintain security,” Bun Heang added.

A spokesperson for the opposition could not be reached for comment on the bodyguard gathering, but earlier yesterday, CNRP Deputy President Mu Sochua pledged the party would not organise or participate in any protests.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • Is Cambodia’s microfinance sector running its course?

    Economic growth and the strength of the banking system might have prompted a slow decline of the microfinance segment that has been raising a population ‘The MFI business model is over,” opined David Van, a Cambodian investment expert, recently. He felt that in a couple