Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Manet is now a four-star General

Hun Manet is now a four-star General

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Defence Minister Tea Banh (left) poses with Hun Manet at a ceremony handing over power of the Ministry of Defence on Saturday. National defence ministry

Hun Manet is now a four-star General

DEFENCE Minister General Tea Banh said yesterday that Lt Gen Hun Manet will be promoted as a General (four star) to match his new position as deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).

Manet has been given the role while retaining his current responsibilities – deputy commander of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit and head of the Defence Ministry’s anti-terrorism unit.

In his new role, the West Point graduate replaces General Kun Kim and General Meas Sophea, who are both stepping down to stand as candidates in the July 29 national elections.

Meanwhile, General Sao Sokha, an RCAF deputy commander and commander of the National Military Police, will now become acting commander of the RCAF, replacing General Pol Saroeun, who is also standing in the elections.

Speaking to about 500 soldiers during the groundbreaking ceremony for the High Command headquarters at the Defence Ministry, Banh said: “There must be a replacement, but this is not nomination – they are just acting officers. Before the transfer of power, there had been a lot of anxiety [both within the military and society] and rumours circulating,” he said.

Banh told reporters at the ceremony that RCAF and the Defence Ministry have full confidence in Manet and Sokha and that it was up to the next government to decide their roles after the election.

When asked if Kim, Sophea and Saroeun would return to their posts in the military if they failed to secure a seat in the assembly, he said: “For the three brothers-in-arms who are standing as candidates, no one dares to say in advance. It must be [decided] after the elections.”

He dismissed suggestions of favouritism or nepotism.

Manet had previously participated in negotiations during the 2008 dispute between Cambodia and Thailand, involving the area surrounding the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, while Sokha has long been the commander of the National Military Police and a deputy RCAF commander-in-chief.

Sokha is said to have forged close ties with the prime minister when he served as Hun Sen’s aide-de-camp in the 1970s.

Paul Chambers, a political professor at Naresuan University, said the promotions were not unexpected.

“The appointments are not unexpected, but they demonstrate that Hun Sen currently prefers individuals within or closer to his family to be in top military posts."

“As such, the RCAF becomes an ever more personalised mechanism of the prime minister,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police