Hun Sen Calls Rainsy a Liar Over Still-Jailed Activists

Prime Minister Hun Sen returned to some familiar themes in his latest verbal assault on opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Wednesday, once again describing him as the “leader of the thieves,” a habitual liar and a stingy hypocrite.

Steering off-topic in his closing remarks at the 2nd Congress of the Cambodian Veteran Association, as he often does, the prime minister mocked Mr. Rainsy for claiming upon returning from a trip abroad that he would have 11 recently-convicted CNRP activists out of prison by August. In July, the 11 were sentenced to jail terms of between seven and 20 years on insurrection charges widely seen as politically motivated.

“[Mr. Rainsy] is very smart about telling lies, so how can he lead the country?” Mr. Hun Sen said. “Upon your arrival, you said you could free them by August. But now it’s September and you have been unable to free them. What else do you wish to lie about?”

The prime minister said Mr. Rainsy often called for higher salaries for the country’s low-skilled workers, yet paid paltry wages to his own drivers, maids and security guards.

Mr. Hun Sen said he was glad that the opposition leader at least ignored alleged calls from his subordinates to demand their state salaries during the CNRP’s nearly yearlong boycott of parliament following the disputed 2013 national election.

“Fortunately, they did not ask for their salaries during the demonstrations,” he said. “But the subordinates told their leader, ‘While meeting with Samdech [Mr. Hun Sen], why didn’t you raise one word about the salaries for almost a year? If you had, I would get $20,000. Now I get nothing.’ Nobody can get a salary for demonstrating in the streets.”

Reviving another recent jibe, Mr. Hun Sen also called Mr. Rainsy the “leader of the thieves” again Wednesday. The prime minister first used the insult last month after Mr. Rainsy said the opposition would stop “poking” the government on its politically fraught work demarcating Cambodia’s border with Vietnam.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann declined to comment on the prime minister’s latest remarks.

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