Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An’s cabinet has requested an investigation into a government critic who accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of helping to repatriate a senior Education Ministry official who sexually assaulted his interpreter in South Korea because the official is Ms. Sam An’s lover.
Chham Channy, an outspoken opposition activist who has lived outside Cambodia for at least a decade, made the accusation on his popular Facebook page on Sunday, saying the Education Ministry official, Kry Seang Long, attacked the woman because he was excited to be free of Ms. Sam An’s grip.
Ms. Sam An has been head of the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspections since 2004 and is a close ally of the prime minister.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the ministry’s cabinet asked for “all levels of the competent authorities to take legal measures to search for the identity of the above account owner in order to punish him according to the law.”
“This is an insult to the honor and dignity of Her Excellency, who is the highest-ranking female leader in the Cambodian government, a National Assembly member and the president of Cambodian Women’s Association for Peace and Development,” it said.
The Facebook post on Sunday suggested that Ms. Sam An sought the help of Mr. Hun Sen and his eldest son in getting Mr. Seang Long back home after he sexually assaulted his interpreter while in Seoul for the Asean+3 HRD Forum in late May.
“A message from a friend: ‘I know that Kry Seang Long…would not have been able to return if there was no intervention from the prime minister and Hun Manet because Cambodia has no extradition treaty with Korea, and Kry Seang Long is the lover of an excellency whose husband died recently.”
“That is why Mr. Long did not dare to take a mistress in Cambodia, and seized the opportunity when he was out of the country,” it said.
The Facebook post did not name Ms. Sam An, but included photographs of her, Mr. Hun Sen, Mr. Manet and Mr. Seang Long.
Mr. Seang Long was released from detention in Seoul on June 8 after the Education Ministry paid more than $12,000 in fines and legal fees, according to a letter sent to Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn by Cambodia’s ambassador to South Korea, Long Dimanche. The Education Ministry claims he has since been removed from his position.
In a message on his Facebook page on Thursday, Mr. Channy, whom Mr. Hun Sen’s son threatened to sue for defamation in January over another Facebook post, said he did not fear arrest.
“I would like to send a message to the supporters of the CPP who dream of arresting me, shutting my mouth and putting me in prison: Your dream will never come true.”
(Additional reporting by Alex Willemyns)