Prime Minister Hun Sen has weighed in on the case of defrocked Khmer Krom monk Tim Sakhorn, currently imprisoned in Vietnam, reiterating previous claims that the monk was attempting to cause a rift between Cambodia and Vietnam.
On July 3, retired King Norodom Sihanouk forwarded to Hun Sen a letter from Thach Setha, executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community, asking Norodom Sihanouk to intervene on behalf of Tim Sakhorn.
In a letter to the retired King dated Sept 28 and received Thursday, Hun Sen described Tim Sakhorn as a rabble-rouser who had used his Takeo province pagoda to agitate for the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation—a US-based group outlawed in Vietnam.
Hun Sen claimed that Tim Sakhorn distributed KKKF bulletins, many of which were meant to incite disputes between Cambodia and Vietnam. “Tim Sakhorn is stubborn and did some activities without permission such as install a flag that is similar to [KKKF] flag, and instate monks without permission and convinced other Khmer Kampuchea Krom to join the [KKKF],” the prime minister wrote.
He also reiterated an earlier claim that Tim Sakhorn had signed a document asking to be taken to Vietnam—a scenario that rights groups and relatives vigorously dispute. Hun Sen added that the government still does not know the charges leveled against Tim Sakhorn by Vietnam.
Thach Setha said Hun Sen’s response is inadequate. “We are all sad with his response,” he said. “Tim Sakhorn is Cambodian: The government should support Tim Sakhorn.”