Anticorruption Chief Apologizes For Building Statue of Hun Sen

Anticorruption Unit Chairman Om Yentieng apologized to Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday for commissioning a statue of the premier, according to a statement published on the Doeum Ampil news website last night.

While the statement, signed by Mr Yentieng, made no mention of the location of the statue being re­ferred to, two security guards at the front gate of the newly created An­ti­cor­ruption Institution in Phnom Penh claimed this week that a roughly 5-me­ter-high statue inside the entrance of the institution was a likeness of Mr Hun Sen.

Mystery has surrounded the statue—which is still covered in red material—since it was first ob­served at the anticorruption body’s headquarters on Noro­dom Boule­vard on Tuesday. Sev­eral government officials, including Mr Yenti­eng, denied having knowledge of the statue.

The statement by Mr Yentieng that appeared on Doeum Ampil apologized to Mr Hun Sen for buil­­ding a statue of the prime min­ister without prior permission.

“I would like to make a public apo­logy because I have built the statue of the prime minister of Cambo­dia,” the statement says, adding that it was Mr Yentieng’s own decision to build the statue.

“I would like to publicly apologize to [Mr Hun Sen]…and please forgive me?” the statement ad­ded.

Mr Yentieng could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Hun Sen’s cabinet chief Ho Sothy, re­leased a statement announcing that nobody was permitted to create a statue or sculpture of the premier.

“The cabinet of the prime minister would like to call out to all state institutions and the public to stop showing or selling [leaders’ statues], and stop sculpting [statues of Cambo­dia’s leaders],” the statement said.

The statement added that it was “against Cambodian culture” to de­pict the country’s leaders while they were still alive.

Government spokesman and In­formation Minister Khieu Kan­harith declined to comment about the statue issue yesterday.

“The Prime Minister’s cabinet has already announced not to put the [living] leader’s statue in state institutions,” Mr Kanharith said.

Anticorruption Council chairman Top Sam said that the 11 members of the council were officially sworn into their posts at a ceremony at the Royal Palace yesterday.


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