The youngest son of late Senate and CPP President Chea Sim has been appointed the next governor of rural Prey Veng province, according to a royal decree signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on December 14.
Chea Somethy, 39, is currently a deputy National Police commissioner and director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-economic crime police department. According to the Prey Veng provincial officials, the current governor, Ha Saret, is set to retire next month.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Lieutenant General Somethy would need to leave his police positions to take up the top civilian post in Prey Veng.
“Normally, when one goes to work in a civilian capacity, he will vacate his position in the National Police,” General Sopheak said. “I think that provincial governor position is a little higher than his current positions.”
Lt. Gen. Somethy could not be reached on Wednesday and Mr. Saret declined to comment. Long Sreng, deputy director of the anti-economic crime department, said that his boss was promoted to his current post in 2011, after six years as deputy head of the department.
“He is a good leader,” Brigadier General Sreng said.
Lt. Gen. Somethy’s assistant, Mao Kongkea, said the soon-to-be governor received a bachelor’s degree in economics from a university in Thailand before continuing his postgraduate studies in the U.S., also studying at the Royal School of Administration in Phnom Penh.
Sok Eysan, a spokesman for the CPP and a lawmaker from Prey Veng, said Lt. Gen. Somethy was born in the province’s Komchay Mear district.
“So I think that he will know about the living conditions of people there,” he said of the southern province, which is largely rural and home to more than 1 million people, mostly farmers.
Chea Sim, the former interior minister and longtime president of the ruling party, was buried at the family’s sprawling estate in Komchay Mear following his death in June at the age of 82.