Acting head of state Say Chhum has promoted the Ministry of Interior’s Thong Sam Ath and ruling Cambodian People’s Party Central Committee member Por Pheak to the rank of four-star general in the National Police, following a request by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

According to a royal decree, approved by the Council of Ministers on March 9 and obtained by The Post yesterday, Thong Sam Ath and Por Pheak were promoted from three-star generals to four-star. Thong Sam Ath is secretary-general of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking, while Por Pheak is a senior Ministry of Interior official in addition to sitting on the CPP’s Central Committee.

Por Pheak said in an interview yesterday that the promotion was due to their outstanding work.

“Generally the leaders see and offer their faith to us by promoting us, and this is my honour,” he said. “We worked even harder than before . . . The most important leaders provide [the promotions] because the leaders see that we can fulfil the obligation.”

A mass military promotion last month of more than 300 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officers brought the number of generals minted over the past year to nearly 800. Experts have criticised the generosity of Cambodia’s promotions, while insiders have confessed that they have sometimes had to remove stars when meeting with foreign counterparts of much lower rank to avoid awkward questions.