Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM claims RFA journo worried US will kill him

PM claims RFA journo worried US will kill him

RFA journalist Chun Chanboth (blue cap) waits to enter Prey Sar prison last year. Hun Sen on Friday claimed that the journalist was a spy for him, and that Chanboth feared he would be killed by the United States if he quit the radio broadcaster.
RFA journalist Chun Chanboth (blue cap) waits to enter Prey Sar prison last year. Hun Sen on Friday claimed that the journalist was a spy for him, and that Chanboth feared he would be killed by the United States if he quit the radio broadcaster. Pha Lina

PM claims RFA journo worried US will kill him

Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed on Friday that Radio Free Asia presenter Chun Chanboth had expressed concern the United States would kill him if he left the State Department-funded broadcaster, a claim quickly dismissed as “silly” by US Ambassador William Heidt.

The premier was in Australia attending an Asean summit, when he made the purported revelations during a meeting with Cambodian-Australians.

Hun Sen claimed Chanboth was a spy for him and that the radio presenter had approached his son, Hun Manet, and military Lieutenant General Mao Sophan for protection from the US, whom he allegedly claimed would kill him if he left RFA. At the same meeting, the premier claimed the United States was responsible for the killing of political commentator Kem Ley – a case many have classified as politically motivated murder.

“Are you insulting me strongly to please America, but you say you need help to protect you in case America kills you like Kem Ley? I helped hide it for you, but now I won’t hide it for you,” the premier said on Friday, referring Chanboth.

Chanboth was forced to flee Cambodia last year after the government issued a warrant for his arrest accusing him of misrepresenting himself in order to gain access to political prisoners at Prey Sar prison. He is now in Washington, DC.

Ambassador Heidt, speaking at an event in Kampong Thom, said US-based journalists enjoyed the freedom to report on stories, and dismissed the idea Chanboth was at threat.

“So this idea that Chun Chanboth is afraid of being in America is frankly, it is just silly. It’s just silly,” he said.

The story was picked up by government mouthpiece Fresh News, which seems to have added the Central Intelligence Agency as the one threatening Chanboth.

Fresh News also appended the screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation, which it claimed was between Chanboth and Manet, with the former attempting to seek a meeting with the premier in Australia last week. It followed with an interview with the RCAF’s Sophan who claimed Chanboth had requested security during a visit to the Kingdom last March, with the lieutenant general providing three bodyguards.

While Chanboth did not respond to a request for comment, he spoke during one of the protests against Hun Sen in Australia, inviting the premier to reveal any secret information Chanboth had purportedly relayed to the prime minister.

“I am also anxious to know why and what documents and information I sent to PM Hun Sen,” he said, referring to the spy allegations.

MOST VIEWED

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,

  • Nearly 50 states join Kun Khmer Federation, all set for training

    In a little over a week, the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) has accepted membership requests from 20 new nations, in addition to the exiting 29. The sudden influx of international recognition stems from the Kingdom’s successful introduction of Kun Khmer to the 32nd Souheast Asian (