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Sar Kheng back from France after successful ‘surgery’, speculations

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Interior minister Sar Kheng in Phnom Penh on January 26. Hean Rangsey

Sar Kheng back from France after successful ‘surgery’, speculations

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng returned to Cambodia on September 6 after undergoing a medical examination and a successful surgery in France during his 14-day stay in the country.

“After travelling to France for two weeks to undergo a medical examination and surgery by French doctors, [Sar Kheng] has returned to Cambodia safely,” Sar Kheng’s cabinet announced in a statement on September 6.

The cabinet said Sar Kheng is now in Covid-19 quarantine in accordance with the government’s universal policy in place for anyone who enters the country.

Neither the cabinet’s statement nor interior ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak revealed what health problems Sar Kheng precisely had.

“His doctors do not make public statements about his medical condition for reasons of privacy and neither do I,” Sopheak told The Post.

Sar Kheng left Cambodia and headed to France from August 22 to September 5 after receiving permission from Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to a notice by the ministry on August 22.

During the minister’s visit to France, Sopheak dismissed claims by some former officials of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who said Sar Kheng had planned to meet informally with former CNRP leaders there.

Some social media users claimed that during his time in France Sar Kheng met with former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and decided to “form an interim government”.

The ministry denied these claims and urged the police and prosecutors to take legal action against those spreading online rumours.

“We have already found some of those responsible for posting these false claims. We know their locations and identity,” Sopheak said.

When asked if the authorities would be able to arrest them given the presumption that they are located abroad, Sopheak said “a bird trap never forgets how to catch a heron”.

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