Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kem Ley had planned to join CNRP: Rainsy

Kem Ley had planned to join CNRP: Rainsy

Political analyst Kem Ley and his wife talk with deputy opposition leader Kem Sohka early last month at the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
Political analyst Kem Ley and his wife talk with deputy opposition leader Kem Sohka early last month at the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Kem Ley had planned to join CNRP: Rainsy

Murdered political analyst Kem Ley planned to join the Cambodia National Rescue Party, CNRP president Sam Rainy has claimed, suggesting the political threat posed by such a move could be a motive behind his killing.

Rainsy made the claim in France on July 17 in a speech to supporters that was uploaded to his Facebook page on Monday, saying his murder was intended to stop it from happening.

Contacted yesterday via email, the self-exiled politician stood by the remarks, saying Ley, who was advising the CNRP on its policy platform, had expressed the wish to eventually join the opposition party during a meeting with CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha at party headquarters on June 3.

“Kem Sokha told me so after his last meeting with Kem Ley,” said Rainsy, who noted Ley’s wife was at the meeting.

“This would be consistent with what the two had done together, openly or more discretely. Kem Ley had told Kem Sokha that he had to criticise the CNRP on some points to assert his independence but his ultimate goal was to help the CNRP win the next elections. Hence his valuable contribution to the CNRP’s political platform.”

Sokha could not be reached to verify the statement yesterday. Ley’s wife Bou Rachana declined to comment.

Ley was shot dead as he drank his morning coffee at a Phnom Penh petrol station on July 10. Though the suspected killer Oeut Ang, who was arrested after fleeing the scene, claimed he killed the analyst over a debt, many have been quick to suspect a political motive behind the murder.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Rainsy pointed the finger at the government, calling the slaying state-backed terrorism.

However, Prime Minister Hun Sen and ruling Cambodian People’s Party officials have rejected accusations of involvement.

Yesterday, CPP spokesman Sok Eyan again blasted Rainsy’s accusations, suggesting the opposition, in fact, had more cause to be angry with Ley over his work to found the Grassroots Democracy Party, which he noted could take votes from the CNRP.

“Now the question is who had reason to kill Dr Kem Ley,” Eysan said.“The Cambodian People’s Party . . . does not want problems of an armed robbery or murder to take place, because that’s the responsibility of the ruling party and royal government.”

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,