Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Canberra called on to sanction Hun Sen

Canberra called on to sanction Hun Sen

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian protesters assemble outside Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Tuesday. Photo supplied

Canberra called on to sanction Hun Sen

Some 200 Cambodians gathered in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Canberra on Tuesday to deliver a petition calling on the Australian government to condemn the Kingdom’s new government and to put sanctions on prime minister-designate Hun Sen and other leading officials.

Australian politician Hong Lim, the Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Clarinda who led the rally, said the mood was such that many of the protesters had taken the day off to join the rally, the first of its kind to take place on a working day.

“The purpose is to ask Australia to reject Hun Sen’s sham and fake election of July 29 [and] to follow the US in visa sanctions and freezing Hun Sen and co’s assets, [and call for the freeing of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president] Kem Sokha,” Lim said on Tuesday.

He said he welcomed the news that the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia would not be attending the opening of parliament scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Lim, who is also the president of the Cambodian Australian Federation (CAF), said the petition “calling on the Australian government to condemn the inauguration of Hun Sen’s new government which is scheduled to take place in Phnom Penh this Thursday” was delivered to DFAT State Director Jenny Bloomfield.

A CAF press release also said that Hun Sen’s relatives and political allies had gathered property and assets worth more than $20 million in Australia, a claim they based on media reports.

The CAF also alleged that “high-ranking Cambodian government and military officials regularly hold events in Melbourne for the purpose of radicalising and pressuring community members to support the [leadership],” the CAF statement said.

The CAF also called for the release of Kem Sokha, the jailed CNRP president, the reinstatement of the CNRP as a political party and its 118 officials, and the release of Australian filmmaker James Ricketson, who was sentenced last week to six years in prison for espionage.

However, ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesperson Sok Eysan said in response on Tuesday that “no one cares” about Hong Lim.

“Whatever he wants to say, he can say, but it has no benefit at all. No one cares about him,” Eysan said.

‘No action taken’

Regarding the allegation of the $20 million worth of investment in Australia by CPP officials, Eysan said if those officials had broken Australian law then the authorities there would have already taken action against them.

“If [any of] their actions were illegal, Australia would have taken legal action. If they weren’t then how can they take action? [There is] no need for Hong Lim to say [anything]. Those who break the law . . . they face legal procedures,” he said.

DFAT Asia-Pacific region spokesperson Kristie Brown could not be reached for comment as of press time.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Third Makro outlet planned for capital’s Chroy Changvar

    Makro (Cambodia) Co Ltd is set to invest $12.7 million in its third Cambodian outlet, this time in northeast Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, an area dotted with high-end residential developments, as shopping behaviours continue to evolve in tandem with economic growth. The Cambodian Investment