Prime Minister Lashes Out at Opposition, UN

Prime Minister Hun Sen told Asiaweek magazine that he expects the opposition to continue to distort the truth against him, such as in the murder case of actress Piseth Peaklica, but that the strategy ultimately will backfire.

“The distortion is always from the same group,” Hun Sen told Asia­week in Phnom Penh earlier this month. “[But] in Cambodia we have another saying that by lying too much you lose yourself, receive no confidence. They try to trap others, but they will forget themselves and [fall] in their own trap.”

The French magazine L’Ex­press and some Khmer-language opposition newspapers have claim­ed that Hun Sen’s wife Bun Rany ordered the slaying of Piseth Peaklica when she learned of an affair between the actress and the prime minister. Oppo­si­tion leader Sam Rainsy has de­nied involvement in the story, but said the allegations could be true.

In what was described as a two-and-a-half-hour interview with special correspondent Dominic Faulder, Hun Sen maintained that government investigations are continuing into the 1997 gre­nade attack (“but diving and searching for a pin under the sea is not easy”) and criticized special UN human rights envoy Thomas Hammarberg for focusing on pri­son conditions in Cambodia (…“so if we have good conditions in prison more people will wish to stay in prison.”)

Hun Sen also said he feared the addition of an independent East Timor into Asean could di­lute the group’s values. And he said Hok Lundy will remain the director of the National Police, de­spite rumors to the contrary. Excerpts of the interview were posted on the magazine’s Inter­net site.

“I know very well the strategy of the opposition that to bring hard times to Hun Sen they have to cut the hands of Hun Sen,” he told Asiaweek. “But it’s not easy to play games with Hun Sen. I am not Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan, whereby with some movement of the troops he was put under arrest.”

Hun Sen characterized the Piseth Peaklica allegation as one of thousands of stories fabricated to bring him down.

“With the death of my mother [in 1998], they created [a story] that I hit my mother until her bones broke. Even with the World Cup final between Brazil and France, they say that I shot the television set because I lost the bet. Actually, I won $100 from Excellency Ung Huot [then First prime minister],” Hun Sen said.

(Additional reporting by The Associated Press)

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