Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM swipes at Rainsy over K5



PM swipes at Rainsy over K5

Government forces in Preah Vihear province cross a river while implementing the K5 Plan in 1987. Documentation Center of Cambodia
Government forces in Preah Vihear province cross a river while implementing the K5 Plan in 1987. Documentation Center of Cambodia

PM swipes at Rainsy over K5

Prime Minister Hun Sen defended the People’s Republic of Kampuchea’s controversial K5 Plan in a speech yesterday and accused self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy of supporting the Khmer Rouge, just days after the self-exiled opposition leader accused the government of “crimes against humanity” in implementing it.

The K5 Plan was a strategy implemented between 1984 and 1987 to clear-cut, secure and mine a densely forested western border region to prevent Khmer Rouge forces from freely moving back and forth from Thailand.

Historians estimate that between 140,000 and 380,000 Cambodians were enlisted in a conscripted work effort, and thousands are thought to have died from malaria and land mines.

Hun Sen would have overseen at least some of the effort after becoming prime minister in 1985.

On Tuesday, Rainsy criticised Hun Sen and National Assembly President Heng Samrin on Facebook for filing lawsuits against him for “petty” issues, while ignoring his statement that they were involved in crimes against humanity in the execution of K5.

“K5-plan is the plan to gather people forcibly to be killed. Thousands of families in the forest stepped on landmines, were infected with malaria, starved, overworked or shot to death by the yuon,” it read, using an often derogatory term for Vietnamese, who backed the PRK.

Hun Sen hit back yesterday, maintaining that K5 had prevented the Khmer Rouge from returning to power. While not explicitly naming the opposition leader, he lobbed a thinly veiled taunt at Rainsy: “If you love the Khmer Rouge, come to be sentenced with them.”

Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday found even stronger words for the opposition leader.

“Sam Rainsy is a person who is indirectly a killer,” he said, arguing that Rainsy had colluded with the Khmer Rouge at the Thai-Cambodian border in the 1980s.

Asked about the forced labour, he said: “It’s wartime . . . Everyone [had] obligations to protect innocent people’s lives from the Khmer Rouge.”

Rainsy denied the accusations of collaboration yesterday, calling them a strategy to divert attention from crimes committed under K5.

He added that he was an editor of a publication in France that often criticised the Khmer Rouge, before daring Hun Sen and Samrin to sue him over his claims “so that we can expose the evidence that we have on both sides”.

Meanwhile, Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said the issue was more complex than presented by either side and pointed out that while K5 had legitimate objectives, many people suffered.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from