Lu Lay Sreng continued to lob criticisms at the ruling party from abroad yesterday, claiming there are “spies” in the CPP and accusing the current government of taking bribes for official positions.
During an interview with Radio Free Asia, the former deputy prime minister from the royalist Funcinpec party claimed a “high-ranking official at the Ministry of Interior” had warned him of his imminent arrest.
Lay Sreng fled Cambodia early in the morning on October 23, after a secretly recorded private phone conversation was leaked in which he called the King a “castrated chicken” for failing to address the worsening political situation, and accused his former party of striking a political deal with the CPP in exchange for National Assembly seats in the event of the main opposition’s dissolution.
He was sued for defamation, though a statement must be made publicly to be defamatory, and insulting the king – an offense that does not exist in the criminal code – by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Funcinpec.
Lay Sreng said he wouldn’t recognise the complaint against him, calling it an “illegal lawsuit” due to the illicit nature of the recording.
Earlier this week, Lay Sreng accused Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh of selling provincial governor positions when he was in power in the 1990s. Yesterday he doubled down on the accusation, saying both CPP and Funcinpec demanded bribes for governor and minister positions.
“They get millions of dollars in each mandate while preparing for a new government. They are so happy,” he said.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan, denied the allegations of bribery, and rejected the claim that Lay Sreng was tipped off by a CPP insider.
“What he claims is not correct. It’s the same as when Sam Rainsy accused the CPP and the royal government, and then his accusation had negative results for himself,” Eysan said in reference to Rainsy’s own defamation convictions.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Lay Sreng’s escape may have served the ruling party better than his arrest.
“If they arrested him, it would not benefit them,” Mong Hay explained.
“The case is politically motivated and would be hard for them to explain to the public.”