Prime Minister Hun Sen has promoted his nephew Hun Chea to the rank of two-star major general in the National Police, despite his chequered past.
The news comes a week after Chea was named in a damning report from Global Witness scrutinising the prime minister’s family’s empire.
According to a royal decree, approved by the Council of Ministers on May 30 and obtained by the Post yesterday, Chea was promoted from his rank of brigadier general.
The appointment was slammed by Am Sam Ath, senior technical officer with rights group Licadho, who said it was commonplace for the offspring of the powerful to be swiftly promoted up the ranks, while those without connections struggled to advance. “Long-serving first or second lieutenants hardly get promoted because they have no connections to powerful people,” he said.
Kirt Chantharith, spokesman for the National Police, yesterday said he was unaware of the decree but denied nepotism was afoot. “[Licadho] are saying that without grounds; if they are not in the unit, how can they know [Hun Chea’s] achievement?” Chantharith said.
“Look at me, I do not have any connections . . . Por Pheak recently has been promoted to secretary-general and he is the son of a farmer.”
In December 2010, the prime minister made a public appeal for Chea to return home after his uncle accused him of cheating on his wife and using drugs, while in 2002, charges against Chea and Hun To, another nephew, were dropped after there was insufficient evidence linking them to a shoot-out that injured two people.