Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son-in-law Dy Vichea, whose father was the late National Police Chief Hok Lundy, has once again been promoted, this time to deputy chief of the National Police.
Vichea – who is married to Hun Sen’s daughter, Hun Mana – was already the head of the Ministry of Interior’s Central Security Department. His promotion to deputy National Police chief was effective January 16.
Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said that in general, Vichea had done a good job. He also downplayed questions of nepotism and compared this case to that of US President Donald Trump appointing relatives to high-ranking positions.
“Look at Donald Trump, he takes his children as his chief advisers,” he said. “There is no law in Cambodia that states that [Vichea] cannot get promoted. However, like in the US, when Donald Trump became the president, [his] children got promoted [and] no one said anything, and there is no law, too.”
There was, however, backlash when Trump appointed his son-in-law Jared Kushner to a high position at the White House, and there is also an anti-nepotism law in the US.
San Chey, executive director with the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, stopped short of calling Vichea’s promotion outright nepotism as it came among a raft of other military promotions.
“In this context, when they are relatives of the leader of the country [who] were promoted, the public may pay a lot of attention, and some people [may] raise concerns over the conflict of interest or concerns over the abuse of power,” he said.