CFF Suspect Related to Hun Sen Adviser

One of the Cambodian-Amer­icans charged in absentia for being a leader of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters is an uncle-in-law of Om Yentieng, one of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s closest advisers.

Thoung Samean, Om Yen­tieng’s relative, is a CFF executive board member and was charged with acts of terrorism and membership in an illegal armed force following the Nov 24 attack that left as many as eight people dead.

Kia Dee, a member of CFF’s executive board living in the US state of California, questioned how Om Yentieng felt about being related to a CFF leader.

“How does he feel to learn that one of CFF’s top officials is his uncle-in-law?” Kia Dee asked. “Will Mr Om Yentieng arrest Mr  Thoung Samean if he has a chance?”

Om Yentieng confirmed that Thoung Samean was his uncle-in-law, saying Thoung Samean’s wife is the aunt of his wife.

Om Yentieng said he last met Thoung Samean in 1992 at Om Yentieng’s home, and Thoung Samean asked him to join his political party for the 1993 elections. Om Yentieng said he re­fused to join.

He said he doesn’t recall the name of the party.

“He’s not my relative, but he’s my wife’s relative,” Om Yentieng said of Thoung Samean. “Before we had a good relationship, but after the 1993 elections, he considered me as his enemy.”

Om Yentieng said it’s his uncle-in-law’s right to join any political party, but he should not use weapons to obtain his goals.

“He should use votes instead of bullets,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong said last week Cam­bodia would ask the Thai gov­ernment to cooperate to stop Cam­bodian-American terrorists from entering the country through Thailand.

In an interview with Radio Free Asia on Friday, a man identifying himself as CFF leader Chhun Yasith said he was living in Thailand to be closer to his troops.

“I am in Thailand. I will not abandon my subordinates,’’ he said. “I stay near the border and meet my patriot commanders near the border crossing gate.”

A Thai embassy official said Cambodia has not yet made an official request for help to the Thai government. And he said as far as he knew, Chhun Yasith was actually living in the US.

“Many people are trying to link Thailand with this incident, but we are not involved,” the official said.

Hun Sen has also publicly demanded that the US arrest the four Cambodian-Americans who are charged in the case. Richard Kiri Kim, who confessed to leading the attack on government buildings, is the only one in Cambo­dian custody.

John Russell, a spokesman for the criminal division of the US Department of Justice, said a legal attache based in Bangkok is working with Cambodian auth­orities on the case.

But a spokesman for the US State Department said it’s ex­tremely rare for the US to prosecute US citizens for crimes committed overseas.

Meanwhile, the wife of Bun Chan To, a top Sam Rainsy Party activist who was arrested in Pailin for being an alleged CFF member, said police took jewelry, furniture and other items from her home when they were searching for documents pertaining to the CFF. She said authorities took more than $2,500 worth of items.

Keut Sothea, second deputy governor of Pailin, said Sunday that he heard items were taken from Bun Chan To’s house, but he didn’t know who took them. However, he defended the raid on the home, saying it was legal and that Bun Chan To’s wife could file a complaint if her belongings are missing.

(Addi­tional reporting by Phann Ana and Richard Sine)

 

 

 

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