Subscribe Search

Search form

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


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which