Prime minister says he is ready to sacrifice up to 200 people to maintain peace
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (center) takes selfies with a supporter during the inauguration ceremony of the Bakheng-1 water treatment plant in Phnom Penh on June 19, 2023. Hun Sen has accused an opposition group of plotting to kidnap him and warned he is prepared to sacrifice up to 200 people in order to maintain peace. (Photo: AFP)
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has accused an opposition group of plotting to kidnap him and warned he is prepared to sacrifice up to 200 people in order to maintain peace as this country gears-up for national elections next month.
“The government must take strict measures to protect 17 million citizens. I would like to announce I am not afraid to sacrifice 100 to 200 people to protect the peace for the whole nation,” Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen did not name the group, but has previously accused the outlawed Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) of plotting to overthrow his government, resulting in the arrests and jailing of more than 100 people.
“Peace is precious for everyone. Everyone wants peace. However, the opposition group wants war. For instance, they plot the plan to kidnap Hun Sen and call on the armed forces to shoot at Hun Sen,” he said, while meeting with about 20,000 factory workers in the capital Phnom Penh on June 24.
“People who follow their incitement shall be imprisoned,” he said, according to a translation from the pro-government Fresh News.
A court ruled dissolution of the CNRP in 2017 and the disqualification of the Candlelight Party — formed out of the remnants of the CNRP — last month have ensured that only the long ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) can win the July 23 national elections.
On June 23, the National Assembly — where the CPP controls all the 125 seats — passed amendments to four electoral laws with the support of 111 parliamentarians that require election candidates to have voted in two consecutive previous elections.
The amendments were widely seen as a measure to counter opposition leaders living in exile who the government claims are attempting to disrupt the electoral process with a boycott call.
The policy-level changes and the crackdown on opposition politicians have angered Western countries, the United Nations Secretary-General and civil society groups who have complained of bullying, threats and acts of intimidation. They have rejected the claims of a plot to oust Hun Sen.
Hun Sen has also ordered that all NGOs — which formed the backbone of early post-war reconstruction of the Southeast Asian nation — must submit to audits to ensure they are not “receiving funds from terrorist networks.”
However, the government insists the elections will be free and fair, and while touring the Phnom Penh factory on June 24 Hun Sen called on workers to vote and support his leadership.
He also claimed the opposition was campaigning for an end to foreign aid, and a halt to investing in Cambodia while urging foreign consumers to stop buying Cambodian products.
“If the factory is closed, who would die first?
“The workers who receive the monthly salary will lose the monthly income. Therefore, you must condemn the ill-intended groups, for they destroy the national interests,” he said.
The Church in Asia needs objective and independent journalism to speak the truth about the Church and the state.
With a network of professionally qualified journalists and editors across Asia, UCA News is just about meeting that need. But professionalism does not come cheap. We depend on you, our readers, to help maintain our independence and seek that truth.
Share your comments
In a land area of 2,552.6 square kilometers with a total coastline of 354 kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the
Banmaw Diocese is situated in the southeast part of the Kachin State and borders China to the east, Myitkyina Diocese
The Military Ordinariate of the Philippines or MOP is a diocese for the men and women in uniform of Armed Forces of the
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali...
Sacred Heart Church in Keamari is a British colonial-era Catholic Church in Pakistan’s Karachi...
St. Francis Xavier Church in the China town of former Vietnamese capital Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)...