Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh Kong province.
Speaking to about 2,000 garment factory workers in Chbar Mon town in Kampong Speu province, Hun Sen said those who insulted him the most were the Khmer Rouge, giving the example of Son Sen, the security chief during the Khmer Rouge era, who was murdered along with his entire family in 1997 by Pol Pot, who at the time was in a life-and-death struggle for control of the remnants of the regime.
“Son Sen who died an unusual death . . . the result of gang-on-gang violence; Pol Pot killed Son Sen and his entire family,” Hun Sen said, adding the rest of the Khmer Rouge were either sentenced or had integrated into the government. “So, those who insult uncle,” he said, referring to himself. “I think they will receive the same result as those like Pol Pot. No one insulted me more than Pol Pot.”
He also brought up Khieu Samphan, who is serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity for his role as head of state under the Khmer Rouge.
“And speaking of Khieu Samphan, on the day of negotiation [for the final surrender of the Khmer Rouge], he insulted me 20 times. Whenever we negotiated, he would start insulting me right away,” the prime minister said, adding that on the final day of negotiations, Samphan brought his family to his home to defect to the government.
Hun Sen said he had recently overheard a nurse wondering aloud why lightning killed innocent people in Koh Kong.
Last Thursday, five people, including a 4-year-old boy, and three dogs were killed by lightning in the province’s Thmar Baing district.
“To the nurse, I would like to say . . . it was members of the opposition who got hit by lightning. I heard [of the incident] and I said it happened because [they] insulted Hun Sen so many times. Sometimes, their fortune is not as high as Hun Sen’s. Sometimes [the opposition] insult Hun Sen then die in car crashes, get struck by lightning, get electrocuted, or perish in a home fire,” Hun Sen said.
Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, founder of NGO Mother Nature and who was deported from Cambodia after the government refused to renew his visa, was of the opinion that the prime minister was wrong about the lightning incident in Koh Kong, noting that a child and dogs were also killed.
“The lightning killed a child and dogs. So, the question is then, ‘Were the kid and dogs members of the opposition CNRP?’ It is so ridiculous,” Gonzalez-Davidson said.
“He was completely wrong because people [on the Areng River] never insulted Prime Minister Hun Sen. They have a tradition of respecting other people. They don’t just insult anyone arbitrarily; they especially respected and were afraid of [Hun Sen],” Alejandro said, adding that the prime minister’s words were disrespectful of the dead.