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

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last