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‘Hitler of Stung Meanchey’ weighs in

Sao Sokha (pictured), Cambodia’s military police commander, referred to Hitler in a speech given during an annual military police conference in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Sao Sokha (pictured), Cambodia’s military police commander, referred to Hitler in a speech given during an annual military police conference in Phnom Penh yesterday. Sovan Philong

‘Hitler of Stung Meanchey’ weighs in

Amid a staunch defence of the performance of a newly formed illegal logging committee’s recent crackdown and remarks on concerns over gun control, National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha took time out to address his now infamous year-old comments on Adolf Hitler yesterday at the military police’s annual meeting.

In January last year, Sokha claimed he had been misinterpreted by local media after he made reference to drawing inspiration from Hitler. Speaking to senior government and military officials, he reiterated that he had been misinterpreted, while at the same time seemingly referring to himself as Hitler.

“Do not forget that Hitler was a bad world leader, but that Hitler was in Europe,” he said.

“But for this Hitler in Stung Meanchey, there is a difference,” he said, referring to the location of Phnom Penh’s Military Police headquarters, where he was delivering his remarks. “Hitler there killed people, but Hitler in Stung Meanchey helps people and works to uphold the law and norms. This Hitler knows about law and norms.”

“Please reporters, do not poison the news.”

The somewhat confusing stab at distancing himself from the leader of Nazi Germany was just one of several points of clarity Sokha attempted to address yesterday.

The police commander said that the committee established late last year to crack down on illegal logging had been unfairly judged by the media and the online community, who he said had accused it of being selective in its targets and unsuccessful in effecting substantial change.

“I would like to ask, where is success?” he said, apparently questioning those who doubt the effectiveness of the crackdown. “Is it shooting people to death or what?”

In a speech last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen had suggested that the two helicopters granted the anti-logging commission were being underutilised, and that pilots should fire rockets at illegal loggers.

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