Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kem Ley's family arrives in Australia as refugees




Kem Ley's family arrives in Australia as refugees

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The wife of beloved political analyst Kem Ley, Bou Rachana, is pictured with her five sons in transit en route to Australia, where they have been accepted as refugees more than 18 months after Ley was shot dead in broad daylight. Twitter

Kem Ley's family arrives in Australia as refugees

The wife and children of slain political analyst Kem Ley have landed safely in Melbourne, Australia as refugees.

Bou Rachana and her five young sons arrived in Australia on Saturday, according to an official Twitter account established in memory of Ley, with confirmation from Victorian Member of Parliament Hong Lim.

“They arrived safely on Saturday,” Lim said late Monday night in a message. “It was horrendous drama at BKK [Bangkok] airport. We thought we lost them …The community is celebrating and welcoming at the temple this Saturday.”

Ley, a prominent government critic, was gunned down in broad daylight in July 2016, just days after he commented on a damning Global Witness report about Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family’s illicit business links.

Shortly after Ley’s funeral, which amassed tens of thousands of mourners, Rachana fled with her children to Thailand, where she claimed refugee status. Rachana was pregnant with Ley’s fifth son when he was killed, and gave birth to Kem Ley Virak in October that year.

While the shooter, Oeut Ang, has been sentenced to life in prison, many observers - among them opposition movement leader Sam Rainsy - alleged Ang was merely a pawn in a politically motivated assassination orchestrated by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

Last week in Australia, Rainsy commented on the slow process Rachana and her sons faced, suggesting Australia’s controversial and expensive refugee deal with Cambodia kept the Australian government tight-lipped on human rights abuses and made it reluctant to accept refugees itself.

“It would be very embarrassing to accept refugees from Cambodia when you send refugees to Cambodia,” he said at the time.

The Post reported in July last year that the Ley family’s claim for asylum had been accepted in Australia, but visas had yet to be issued as they waited in Thailand for more than six months.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia

  • Cambodia, Vietnam exchange border maps amid criticism

    Cambodia and Vietnam formally exchanged border maps on Monday despite criticism from former members of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that the Kingdom is losing land in the deal. The two countries said agreement on the border is 84 per cent complete, leaving