Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Protest leader assistant to PM

Protest leader assistant to PM

Pankhem Bunthan, president of the Youth Federation of Senaneak, swears an oath of allegiance to Hun Sen earlier this year at the Preah Ang Dang Ker statue in Phnom Penh.
Pankhem Bunthan, president of the Youth Federation of Senaneak, swears an oath of allegiance to Hun Sen earlier this year at the Preah Ang Dang Ker statue in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Protest leader assistant to PM

The head of the youth group seen leading a protest outside the National Assembly in October – attendees of which brutally assaulted two opposition lawmakers – is an assistant to Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to a decree released online.

Pankhem Bunthan, executive director of the Youth Federation of Senaneak, whose members in June swore an oath of fealty to the premier, was appointed to the role in May, according to a directive signed by the premier and obtained yesterday.

Bunthan is shown in pictures, circulated on social media, holding a megaphone in front of a crowd of protesters, who gathered outside parliament on October 26 demanding that Cambodia National Rescue Party vice president Kem Sokha be removed as the parliament’s first vice president, an ousting that occurred soon after.

After most of the 2,000-strong crowd dispersed, a group of protesters – including one man pictured standing near Bunthan – viciously attacked opposition lawmakers Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Saphea.

Bunthan, who was unavailable yesterday, has previously downplayed his group’s role in the rally – which was foreshadowed by Hun Sen the night before – saying about a dozen members merely attended to observe the demonstration.

Though evidence has emerged linking at least two of three suspects charged to the prime minister’s personal bodyguard unit, the group has denied involvement.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday said he was unaware of the Bunthan’s appointment but added that the premier’s assistants were vetted to ensure they had no criminal history.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding