Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen on offensive again

Hun Sen on offensive again

Meach Sovannara is escorted out of court after a hearing in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Yesterday, Hun Sen mocked Sam Rainsy for his inability to secure the release of detained CNRP activists and supporters.
Meach Sovannara is escorted out of court after a hearing in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Yesterday, Hun Sen mocked Sam Rainsy for his inability to secure the release of detained CNRP activists and supporters. Pha Lina

Hun Sen on offensive again

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday mocked Cambodian National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy for failing to secure the release of CNRP activists and an opposition senator, who, the premier added, were imprisoned because of the party’s “troublemaking”.

In his latest goading of Rainsy since their so-called “culture of dialogue” took a backseat to disputes over the Vietnam border, Hun Sen called his counterpart’s pledge to free his imprisoned troops a “lie” and mocked his impotence thus far.

“If you are good at lying [to people] like this, how can you rule the country? It is impossible,” Hun Sen said.

“You said you would free [the imprisoned opposition figures] by August, but now it is September and you still cannot do it. This is lying.

“What are you thinking about people who supported you?”

The premier and Rainsy were on seemingly good terms earlier this year, trumpeting their “culture of dialogue” as a step forward in the Kingdom’s combative politics.

But recently, tensions have flared and arrests have followed.

On August 15 – after being accused of treason by Hun Sen – Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour was arrested, despite his parliamentary immunity, for posting a “fake” copy of a 1979 border treaty online.

This came on the heels of the arrest of three opposition activists over accusations they participated in violent anti-government protests in Freedom Park last year.

They joined 11 more activists sentenced to hefty jail time in July on “insurrection” charges for the same protest.

The opposition has linked the crackdown to their campaign highlighting alleged Vietnamese territorial encroachment, which includes claims that the government had ceded land by using the wrong demarcation maps.

Although the government has often denied a hand in the arrests, citing judicial independence, Hun Sen yesterday said Rainsy had provoked him to react.

“You are good at making trouble and confessing to tickle [Hun Sen], therefore when you tickled [Hun Sen] and Hun Sen reacted, [the opposition members] were [sent to] prison and [their] fate is jail,” said Hun Sen.

He again likened Rainsy’s pledge to ease up on border rhetoric, made after visiting the prisoners in August, to a gang of thieves confessing their crimes.

He added: “We were asked to work together, but you lied and you cheated, therefore it is impossible for Hun Sen, who has a lot of experience.”

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann declined to comment on the speech.

“I can answer only to the issues that are relevant to the interest of the nation,” said Sovann.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and