Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Claims about RFA’s Chun Chanboth continue with leaked recording

Claims about RFA’s Chun Chanboth continue with leaked recording

RFA presenter Chun Chanboth hosts a news broadcast earlier this week. The US-based journalist was part of another Fresh News leak purporting to be a conversation between him and army General Mao Sophan. Facebook
RFA presenter Chun Chanboth hosts a news broadcast earlier this week. The US-based journalist was part of another Fresh News leak purporting to be a conversation between him and army General Mao Sophan. Facebook

Claims about RFA’s Chun Chanboth continue with leaked recording

Government mouthpiece Fresh News on Tuesday leaked an audio recording of a conversation purportedly between Radio Free Asia presenter Chun Chanboth and army General Mao Sophan, where the latter describes guests on his program saying a CNRP government would have been more dictatorial than the current ruling party.

The recording is only a short 90-second clip of an alleged conversation Chanboth had with Sophan when he visited the country in March of 2017, a visit during which the Cambodian government sought to arrest him. It follows other unsubstantiated claims from Prime Minister Hun Sen suggesting that Chanboth was in fact a spy for the ruling party, and an account from a disgruntled ex-RFA staffer shortly thereafter claiming Chanboth feared the US would assassinate him – claims flatly denied by his employer.

In the audio released Tuesday, Chanboth refers to a show he hosted featuring slain political commentator Kem Ley in which Ley said it was lucky that the opposition did not win the 2013 election, because then-Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy would have been more dictatorial than Hun Sen.

“We are lucky that the opposition did not win the election, if the … party won the election, we don’t know what the country would become now,” Chanboth says, referring to the Ley’s comments.

The recording is just the latest in a deluge of leaked private conversations, most of which have been perceived as damaging to opposition figures. The motive behind the latest clip’s release was unclear, and it is difficult to decipher the context of the conversation. Chanboth’s syntax at times seems clipped and jumbled, raising questions as to whether the audio was selectively edited.

The Fresh News article claims that Chanboth’s meeting and discussion with Sophan violated RFA’s internal regulation preventing reporters from conducting secret meetings.

Fresh News last week claimed that Chanboth had asked Sophan to arrange for bodyguards during his visit last year because he feared he may be murdered by the US, but was instead escorted from the airport by American CIA officials. The story was based on an account by a former RFA staffer embroiled in a dispute with the broadcaster over back pay.

Sophan could not be reached yesterday and RFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment, though it has previously denied the ex-staffer’s account.

The headline of a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the leaked recording was of a phone call. In fact, it was a purported recording of a face-to-face meeting. A previous version also incorrectly stated that Radio Free Asia presenter Chun Chanboth visited Cambodia in March of 2016. In fact, it was 2017.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures