Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian-Australians welcome Kem Ley’s widow, burn effigies of Hun Sen




Cambodian-Australians welcome Kem Ley’s widow, burn effigies of Hun Sen

Members of the Cambodian-Australian community set two Hun Sen effigies alight on Saturday, after he threatened to follow them home and beat them if they burned his photo during next month’s Asean-Australia summit. Facebook
Members of the Cambodian-Australian community set two Hun Sen effigies alight on Saturday, after he threatened to follow them home and beat them if they burned his photo during next month’s Asean-Australia summit. Facebook

Cambodian-Australians welcome Kem Ley’s widow, burn effigies of Hun Sen

The Cambodian-Australian community welcomed the widow and children of murdered political analyst Kem Ley at a ceremony in Melbourne on Saturday, after which they also burned effigies of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The Leys’ long-awaited arrival in Australia came more than 18 months after Ley was murdered in broad daylight in July of 2016. While the shooter has been sentenced to life in prison, observers say the killing was likely a politically motivated assassination, and despite acknowledging the shooter likely didn’t act alone, officials closed the investigation without making any other arrests.

Ley’s widow, Bou Rachana, said she was moved to tears by the outpouring of support. “I am just so excited and glad that our Cambodian-Australian family gave a very warm welcome to me and my five sons, and I did not expect that before I arrived in Australia,” she said.

“I feel like here is my second home and family . . . I lost my husband, but I didn’t feel lonely anymore when I arrived in Melbourne,” she added. “I felt like I was born again for a new life.”

Cambodian-Australian activist Va Malina said scores of people attended the event, including Australia’s shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus, and prayers were made for Ley’s soul and for his family.

“The other emotional greeting was from an elderly lady – she’s almost 100 years old and she knew Ley through Facebook and she respected Kem Ley so much,” Malina said. “She uses a wheelchair and asked her children to bring her to the pagoda to see Ley’s family, and she cried and hugged the whole family.”

Scores of people attend a ceremony on Saturday to welcome slain political analyst Kem Ley’s widow, Bou Rachana, and their children to Australia. Facebook
Scores of people attend a ceremony on Saturday to welcome slain political analyst Kem Ley’s widow, Bou Rachana, and their children to Australia. Facebook

After the ceremony, two effigies bearing the face of Prime Minister Hun Sen were set alight. The move comes days after Hun Sen threatened Australian protesters he would follow them home and “beat” them if they dared to burn his photo during his upcoming visit for the Asean-Australia summit in March.

Australian opposition lawmaker Mark Butler slammed Hun Sen’s remarks and said Australians were “appalled” at the crackdown on democracy in Cambodia, including the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha and a series of attacks on free press and civil society.

“I say to Hun Sen and to Cambodian-Australians, the right to peaceful protest – without threats of violence – is a cherished part of Australia’s democracy,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.

“The Australian government must make it clear in no uncertain terms to the Cambodian government how unacceptable these threats are, and how important it is that they be retracted immediately.”

Malina said the Cambodian-Australian Federation had submitted a complaint against Hun Sen to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and the Australian Federal Police.

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday or late yesterday, while Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry could not be reached.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15

  • CNRP activist freed; Sam Rainsy pledges return to Kingdom

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday released former CNRP activist Oeur Narith on bail after the court ended its questioning on suspicion of receiving money from abroad and plotting to overthrow the government, according to the authorities. National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun confirmed

  • Hun Sen says developing nations ‘targets of rivalry’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke at the virtual UN General Assembly on Monday, saying that developing nations often become targets of punishment for their imperfections when they don’t rise to the standards of developed countries. He said rivalries between superpowers often hamper developing countries’