Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen takes a dig at US for Vegas shooting

Hun Sen takes a dig at US for Vegas shooting

Mourners attend a candlelight vigil for the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mourners attend a candlelight vigil for the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

Hun Sen takes a dig at US for Vegas shooting

Even as he expressed condolences for the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday that left 59 people dead, Prime Minister Hun Sen appeared yesterday to suggest that the incident was a kind of cosmic rebuke following American warnings to its citizens about safety in the Kingdom.

“When the US ambassador called for Americans to be careful in Cambodia, it did not happen in Cambodia but on US soil,” Hun Sen said. “Yet the US is the one who made the appeal. This is the mocking of fate.”

Hun Sen, who was speaking to garment workers in Por Sen Chey district yesterday, was referring to the embassy’s September 13 security warning regarding increasing “anti-American rhetoric” in light of the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha and the expulsion of American NGO the National Democratic Institute.

In the security message, the US Embassy warned its citizens to avoid large crowds and to be vigilant about personal security in Cambodia.

“The [US Ambassador William Heidt], before Pchum Ben, reminded American people in Cambodia to be careful about security, but this problem has not happened in Cambodia,” Hun Sen said.

The embassy declined to comment yesterday, referring reporters instead to a statement released by Heidt last month in which he noted that recent events in the Kingdom – many of them tinged with anti-Americanism – “aren’t hurting the United States, they are hurting Cambodia”.

A lone gunman shooting from the 32nd floor of a hotel in Las Vegas on Sunday night killed 59 people and injured hundreds of others.

In between comments about the embassy’s security warning, Hun Sen offered his condolences to victims of the shooting, which he called a “tragedy”.

He also waded into the gun control debate, stating that the US “has no strict management on weapons” and warning Cambodians living there to be careful “since [the US] is not secure or stable”.

“Shootings at schools, stores and other places will continue taking place,” he said.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng also offered his opinions on the shooting at a ministry meeting about citizenship yesterday, blaming lobbyists for blocking gun control legislation in America.

“They don’t use the word corruption but they use the word lobby,” Kheng said.

Expressing disbelief that the shooter had access to so many firearms, the minister added: “This is an experience for us to learn from. It does not mean we’re mocking our foreigner friends.”

San Chey, director of NGO Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said Hun Sen’s comments will likely strain an already tense relationship with the US.

“Both old and young politicians in both small and big countries should be talking about how to make things better for people’s well-being, rather than mocking each back and forth,” Chey said.

Additional reporting by Kong Meta

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the