In an apparent attempt to distance himself from the savage beating of two opposition party lawmakers last month, Hun Sen’s son and ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) lawmaker Hun Many threatened legal action against any individuals linking him to the incident.
Many, who published his warning on Facebook on Saturday, was ostensibly responding to images circulating online showing Many alongside suspected assailants of the two Cambodian National Rescue Party lawmakers, who still remain hospitalised in Bangkok.
The statement, which claimed to respond to “allegations which are exaggerations and cast blame to affect my [Many’s] honour and dignity”, said that the decision to take “legal measures” against alleged detractors was taken in consultation with Many’s youth group, the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC).
Many goes on to demand an “absolute public apology from the committing person” before signing off with a self-referential appeal to justice: “on behalf of lawmakers, I hate the violation of the law.”
Meanwhile political analyst Ou Virak, questioned the manoeuvre by the Kampong Speu lawmaker, predicting that it would only spur further speculation about a connection to the violence committed as a pro-CPP protest was dispersing.
“I would welcome that he [Many] clarify [his involvement with the protest] without resorting to legal threats,” Virak said, adding that “in a country like Cambodia where the court is not independent, a legal threat is as real a threat as could be, and it is very chilling for many people”.
Political blogger Ou Ritthy felt the posts he had seen circulating on social media hardly constituted an allegation against Many.
“The posts show the picture of Hun Many with the guys who beat them [the two CNRP lawmakers]; they don’t directly accuse him”, Ritthy said, while acknowledging that the images could be seen as “imply[ing] that he is the one behind that”.
Many has publicly stated that while he was present at the October 26 demonstrations it was simply in his capacity as a lawmaker to receive the petition by the demonstrators calling for the resignation of CNRP deputy leader Kem Sokha from his office as vice president of the National Assembly.
Sokha was ousted from the vice presidency by a one-party parliamentary vote on October 30.
Following the attacks on CNRP lawmakers Nhay Chamroeun, and Kong Sakphea, Many publicly took to Facebook to speak out against the violence.
“I condemn violence against people, especially parliamentarians, and call for the authorities to take action.”