Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday told critics of National Police Director-General Hok Lundy to stay out of government affairs, responding to recent demands from the Alliance of Democrats for the police chief’s suspension.
Alliance officials, who have blasted Hok Lundy for his investigation into the Jan 22 killing of union leader Chea Vichea, may voice their opinions, Hun Sen said. But, he added, they have no right to interfere in the matter.
“The opposition is the opposition and the government is the government,” Hun Sen said. “They [the Alliance] have no right to do anything that is related to the appointment of government officials, armed forces and civil government administration.”
Earlier this week, Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay wrote to King Norodom Sihanouk, asking the King to consider taking action to suspend Hok Lundy.
A statement issued by the Alliance this week also urged for the police chief’s suspension, saying Hok Lundy has systematically failed to conduct credible investigations into cases with alleged political motives.
Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang on Wednesday said that as members of the National Assembly, his party’s parliamentarians “have to tell the other side what to do.”
“I think Mr Prime Minister misunderstands the sharing of power” between the Assembly and the government, he said.
The police probe into Chea Vichea’s death has prompted Alliance officials, as well as legal experts and human rights workers, to question what they claim are inconsistencies in the gathering of evidence.
Among the “procedural errors” in the investigation, the Alliance has accused the police of providing a “shoddy” sketch of the suspect and alleged the police later forced confessions from two men who were charged in the killing.
King Norodom Sihanouk on Wednesday also weighed in on the subject of the investigation, saying he found some of the Alliance’s objections to the police’s conclusions strange.
“The death of Mr Chea Vichea, as those of such other assassinated Kaun-Chau [grandchildren], saddens me profoundly,” the King wrote in a message titled “Drollery,” posted on his Web site.
But, he said: “I cannot refrain from finding ‘droll’ certain ‘things’ coming particularly from politicians who are the pro-Chea Vichea and pro-HE Sam Rainsy and anti-Samdech Hun Sen.”
The King said no one could doubt the affirmation of “a National Police super sleuth,” who declared Chea Vichea’s killer was not the same person who made a death threat to the union leader shortly before he was killed.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, the Cambodia Watchdog Council, a coalition of union and student groups, also issued a statement, criticizing the police and supporting Son Chhay’s appeal for Hok Lundy to step down.
Hok Lundy, who is attending an Asean security summit in Indonesia, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Police officials this week have dismissed the calls for his removal, saying they support the police chief.