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PM, party elite mourn Hun Neang

The funeral procession carrying the casket of the late Hun Neang leaves Prime Minister Hun Sen’s downtown residential compound
The funeral procession carrying the casket of the late Hun Neang leaves Prime Minister Hun Sen’s downtown residential compound yesterday. HENG CHIVOAN

PM, party elite mourn Hun Neang

Family and senior government figures joined Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday in bidding farewell to his father, Hun Neang, for the final time.

The body of the 89-year-old, who passed away Friday morning after a long history with health problems, was taken to its resting place in a cemetery in the grounds of Vongkot Borei pagoda in the capital’s Sen Sok district. The final day of funeral proceedings involved a huge number of mourners who set off from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house in the early morning.

Senior Cambodian People’s Party officials, including National Assembly President Heng Samrin, were dressed in black and white as they gathered with family members, monks and nuns.

Many wore black ribbons and carried white lotus flowers.

Missing from the group of mourners was Senate President Chea Sim, who has been battling health problems in recent times.

Neang’s casket, carried on two giant swans, was accompanied by cars and buses that ferried family members and officials on an hourlong journey to the pagoda.

Government officials and family friends attend the burial ceremony of Hun Neang at Vongkot Borie Pagoda in Phnom Penh
Government officials and family friends attend the burial ceremony of Hun Neang at Vongkot Borie Pagoda in Phnom Penh. VIREAK MAI

Hun Neang’s wife, Dy Pok, was buried at the same site when she died in 1998, aged 79.

The funeral procession slowed traffic on a number of roads, including near Phnom Penh International Airport.

Construction worker Teng Sovannaroth, 42, who was travelling along Russian Boulevard, said the congestion had been inconvenient, but he felt in no position to complain.

“I think this is a time for me and others to pay respects to a man who helped develop our country socially and religiously,” he said.

Neang, who has been praised for funding the construction of schools and was given an honorary title by King Norodom Sihamoni in 2011, passed away at 4:10 last Friday morning.

In recent days, condolences poured in from across the region.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong arrived at Phnom Penh airport on Tuesday to pay their respects.

Neang and Pok, who met in the 1940s, had six children and 30 grandchildren.

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