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

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,