About 100 truckloads of alleged supporters of co-Minister of Interior You Hockry gathered Wednesday at Funcinpec headquarters in Phnom Penh, demanding justice for the embattled party official who is facing the loss of his ministerial post as well his senior position in the party.
The demonstration came to a climax late in the afternoon, when You Hockry and at least 50 representative of the more than 2,000 supporters were allowed inside the Funcinpec compound and met with Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh.
Speaking after the meeting in front of his supporters, You Hockry said no decision has been reached yet as to whether he will be fired.
The move to oust You Hockry came to light in mid-March, when at least 1,000 former resistance fighters demanded he be fired from his position in the Interior Ministry amid allegations of corruption and nepotism.
Since then, the Funcinpec Steering Committee has gathered a majority of signatures for an order to fire You Hockry—who is also a top committee member—from his posting. The order was sent to Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who is scheduled to meet with You Hockry today.
Speaking before the National Assembly Wednesday, Prince Ranariddh stopped short of saying whether You Hockry would be fired.
“I invited You Hockry to meet me and implore him to think about his reputation and his future in the party, but he doesn’t listen to me,” Prince Ranariddh said Wednesday. “I have no choice besides putting this issue to the Funcinpec Steering Committee, which will end it soon.”
Sambo Che, You Hockry’s son-in-law and a former undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Tourism, said Wednesday that You Hockry has “done a lot for Funcinpec,” and been involved in other works such as the construction of schools and pagodas.
“Why are they trying to dismiss him without giving him a reason? I would like to ask who has done more for Funcinpec than You Hockry?” Sambo Che said.
Many of the Kompong Cham supporters also defended You Hockry, saying that he has built schools and developed villages for their province.
One supporter, Kim Yeng, 60, from Kang Meas district, said he had nothing against Prince Ranariddh but wanted justice for You Hockry “because he is not guilty.” He added, however, that an unidentified group of people gave him food, drinks and free travel to come to Phnom Penh.
Other supporters of You Hockry also said they were given food and drinks to come to Phnom Penh while at least two supporters in front of the Funcinpec headquarters Wednesday said they did not know why they were demonstrating.
“I do not know well about You Hockry’s problem—they called me here to come,” said Koeut Khon, 57. “I never came to Phnom Penh for free like this. They paid me food and drinks.”
Another alleged supporter, Touch Prey, gave a similar explanation Wednesday.
“I don’t know why I came here. I was told to support You Hockry,” Touch Prey said.