Hun Sen’s nephew Hun Chea has been elevated to the rank of three-star lieutenant general in the Interior Ministry, with an accountability expert linking his rise to his relation to the premier.
According to a royal decree issued on December 30, Chea was elevated from his previous position as a two-star major general in the National Police, despite his chequered past.
In 2002, Chea and another nephew of the premier, Hun To, were charged in a shootout that injured two people, though the case was ultimately dropped due to insufficient evidence. In 2010, the premier made an appeal to him to return to his family after Chea was publicly accused of cheating on his wife and using drugs.
Chea also figured in a 2016 Global Witness report that accused him of violating the law by having business interests while holding a government job.
San Chey, head of the accountability NGO ANSA, said promotions were almost always gained “through close connections with . . . powerful people, and without good connections, [others] find it hard to get promotions”.
But Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak dismissed Chey as “a crazy person”.
“We promote and give stars to the ones who have achievements,” he maintained.