PM Orders Probe Into SRP Plot Charges

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday ordered military officials to investigate allegations reportedly brought up by SRP defectors that have accused the SRP of involvement in a series of violent plots.

Speaking at a bridge groundbreaking in Kandal province, Hun Sen said that a group of seven SRP “secret agents” that defected to the CPP have claimed that the SRP was involved with the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, the so-called Angkor Empire Movement, and a 1998 attempt to assassinate the prime minister.

“They knew many cases,” Hun Sen said of the defectors. “We must investigate the documents.”

The SRP denied any connection to any of the events, saying that Hun Sen’s attempt to draw a connection between them and the opposition is almost comical. In 1998, there was a rocket-propelled grenade attack on Hun Sen’s motorcade in Siem Reap town. The prime minister escaped unharmed, but a 12-year-old bystander was killed. The Cambodian Freedom Fighters initiated a short-lived attack on several government buildings, including the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Defense, in November 2000, leaving at least four dead and about a dozen wounded. A handful of people were arrested in Pursat province last year for allegedly being part of the Angkor Empire Movement, which authorities claimed is an armed force bent on taking back all territories in Vietnam and Thailand that were formerly under Khmer control.

“There must be an investigation over evidence that is connected to the rocket attack in Siem Reap province, the Angkor Empire Movement and the Cambodian Freedom Fighters,” Hun Sen said Sunday.

To that end the premier ordered RCAF Deputy Commander-in-Chief Meas Sophea and military intelligence chief Mol Roeub to cooperate in their investigation with one Lek Bun Neagn, whom the prime minister identified as a special envoy of SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang.

Hun Sen insisted that this investigation was not politically motivated. “It is not a political threat, but we must not forget criminal cases,” he said.

“I do not use [Lek Bun] Neagn for something,” Hun Sen added. “They are concerned about Neagn’s defection. He was [SRP] secret forces.”

Lek Bun Neagn confirmed by telephone Sunday that he is engaged in investigations concerning the Siem Reap attack, the CFF and the Angkor Empire Movement.

“I have some documents that implicated the Sam Rainsy Party,” he claimed, but added that he has not been able to find a link between SRP President Sam Rainsy and any of the illegal activity.

Sam Rainsy dismissed Hun Sen’s remarks Sunday as an attempt to confuse the voters, adding that the SRP would not be intimidated.

“These cases happened ten years ago. This is demonstrating the government’s inability,” Sam Rainsy said. “The defectors must have exaggerated the stories to make money, and the CPP is using it for political reasons.”

“People will laugh about it,” he added. “People will laugh that the CPP cannot compete with us through wisdom.”

Eng Chhay Eang also said that Lek Bun Neagn was never an SRP member, let alone his personal envoy. He did claim however that Lek Bun Neagn had once attempted to use the SRP as a means to trick the UN into granting him asylum abroad.

“He is cheating the CPP,” Eng Chhay Eang said.

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