Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New spy school announced

New spy school announced

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s second son, Hun Manith, speaks at an event announcing a new school for spies yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s second son, Hun Manith, speaks at an event announcing a new school for spies yesterday in Phnom Penh. Facebook

New spy school announced

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the creation of a school to train spies to combat “colour revolution” and terrorism in Cambodia yesterday, tapping his son and Ministry of Defence Intelligence Director Hun Manith to lead it.

In front of an audience of hundreds of military and police officials, Manith said the facility will train soldiers and police in intelligence-gathering and maintaining “covert identities”.

“Though there is external and internal disturbance from a hostile and ill-intended group of people, Cambodia has maintained high economic growth,” Manith said in his speech in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district where the facility will be built.

“We need to control and share information to take action in time,” he added. “The political and security situation and competition in the future will be more intense than in previous years.”

Though Manith did not explicitly name the “ill-intentioned group”, the government recently dissolved the country’s only viable opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, over widely derided accusations that it was fomenting a foreign-backed “colour revolution”. The move has since drawn near-universal condemnation from observers and the international community.

Manith, who is a lieutenant general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, said the school will also offer sniper training and later expand into a “strategy and research centre”.

Hun Sen, who spoke after his son, said the government is continuing to root out colour revolution using agents both inside and outside of the armed forces. “I do not want spies to only provide information,” Hun Sen said. “The spy needs to have skills to analyse fake news and news resulting from exaggeration . . . We need investigators that we call spies in all places and units.”

Hun Sen also claimed that he had pretended to be on his deathbed in the past to root out people in his circle leaking rumours. “This is something special about me,” he said. “You cannot predict my steps and you cannot lay a trap for me.”

Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, said the new body appears to be another part of Hun Sen’s efforts to consolidate power over Cambodia’s military and security forces.

“The government has excelled in manufacturing non-existent threats, like a colour revolution, to justify its crackdown on human rights and civil society,” Robertson said in an email. “And now it’s going a couple steps further by creating permanent intelligence training facilities to combat these and other threats, like Islamic terrorism, which has also yet to appear in Cambodia.”

The two-building compound – situated on an 8-hectare plot – will cost between $2 million and $3.4 million, according to Manith, who said it will be funded by the government and donations. He said another $1.4 million will be spent repairing the Defence Ministry’s current intelligence headquarters and provincial facilities.

Manith, who is Hun Sen’s middle son, has been promoted to several high-ranking positions in the military and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party this year. In August, he was appointed to lead a new intelligence unit reporting directly to the Ministry of Defence.

Additional reporting by Daphne Chen

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,