Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen's Bodyguard Unit to expand ranks

Hun Sen's Bodyguard Unit to expand ranks

Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit members march in anniversary celebrations on September 4.
Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit members march in anniversary celebrations on September 4. Hong Menea

Hun Sen's Bodyguard Unit to expand ranks

Cambodia's military ranks are set to receive a further influx of new troops, including 350 destined for the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit, according to official documents that surfaced recently online.

According to a decree signed by the premier on July 21, the Ministry of Defence was given permission to recruit 500 soldiers – 150 as infantry troops for the Special Military Zone, which covers Phnom Penh, Kandal and Kampong Chhang, with the rest designated as personnel for the Bodyguard Unit, which on September 4 celebrated 26 years since its formation.

The decree calls on the Council of Ministers, Defence Ministry and Economy and Finance Ministry to “implement this decision from the signing date”.

Reached yesterday, the chief of Hun Sen’s bodyguards, an elite, well-armed unit comprising several thousand troops, said the new recruits were to replace retirees.

“When they are old, they have to retire . . . how can you allow a 70-year-old to continue work,” Bun Heang asked, refusing to specify the total number of personnel in his unit. “There is nothing strange about this.”

The news, however, comes amid a notable increase in public military exercises – including the recent deployment of boats, helicopters and troops near the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s capital headquarters.

CNRP member Prince Sisowath Thomico said while 350 was a relatively insignificant number relative to the unit’s size, the fact that it continued to outgrow much of the regular military was concerning.

“I think it’s really obvious that the prime minister feels very shaky, otherwise why would he have such a strong bodyguard unit?”

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties

    The US on Tuesday pledged to help train military officers, particularly Cambodia’s blue helmet troops deployed for UN’s peacekeeping operations. The pledge was made during a meeting between US ambassador Patrick Murphy and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen. Further

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • Sokha lodges an appeal over treason case reaching court

    Kem Sokha, the president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has appealed against the decision to send his treason case to trial. Sokha’s legal team said their client was not satisfied with the decision of a Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating

  • Gov’t approves $9B worth of building projects in 2019

    The government has approved more than $9 billion this year for capital investment in the construction sector, a nearly 80 per cent increase on last year, with most of the growth coming from projects in Sihanoukville, according to Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea

  • King rescinds oknha honorific of 46 National Police officials

    The oknha titles of 46 National Police officials with the rank of general, as well as senior officials in the ministries of Interior and National Defence, will be withdrawn following a royal decree from King Norodom Sihamoni. National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun told The Post