Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Union to skip annual march

Union to skip annual march

Union to skip annual march

People march in Phnom Penh to mark the sixth anniversary of union leader Chea Vichea’s assassination, on January 22, 2010. Sovan Philong

On the anniversary of union leader Chea Vichea’s death each year, members of Cambodia’s Free Trade Union defy government orders and march to the site of his assassination in 2004 to lay wreaths in his honour.

The same orders have come this year, but for the first time, the union has listened and agreed not to march.

The reason, FTU president Chea Mony said, has nothing to do with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s decision last week to approve the building of a statue to the fallen union leader, but is because the January 22 anniversary coincides with senate elections campaigning.

“The program to commemorate Chea Vichea’s memory is intact, but there is no march to newsstands near Lanka pagoda, where the killers shot him dead. Instead, we will take the wreaths in motorbikes and cars,” Chea Mony, Chea Vichea’s younger brother, said.

It is the first time Chea Mony has agreed not to march on the anniversary of his brother’s death, but he denied his obedience related to the statue.  

“I don’t give in to anybody. I don’t hold the procession because it is a [campaigning] day for the senate election. I follow the law, and the city hall also complies with the law.”

More than 100 people had been expected to march through the streets to the site where Chea Vichea was assassinated in 2004 while reading a newspaper near Wat Lanka.

The decision to cancel the wreath procession was made on Friday after city hall held two meetings attended by union representatives.

Koet Chhe, deputy director of Phnom Penh municipal administration, decided not to allow the procession because the city did not want campaigning for the senate election for the third mandate to be interrupted, Chea Mony said.

The union representatives had also agreed to refrain from using banners, pushing political messages and travelling past Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house, he said.

Two men were charged, convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for Chea Vichea’s murder, but are widely believed to be innocent.

Chea Vichea’s wife, Chea Kimny, and their two children sent a letter from Finland, which the Post obtained yesterday, asking the government to find Chea Vichea’s killers. “My two children and I would like to request the government seek justice for our beloved father and husband,” Chea  Kimny wrote.

Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator for rights group Licadho, said the authorities’ inability to find the real killers meant people were losing confidence in the government.


  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong