SRP Officials Unsurprised by PM’s Spy Claim

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s statement Tuesday that he had spies within the opposition party came as no surprise, party officials said Wednesday, though they ad­ded that they did not know the names of any specific infiltrators.

Speaking to graduates at the Na­tional Institute for Education, Hun Sen warned spies inside the oppo­si­tion party that he would identify them if they continued to criticize him.

Sam Rainsy Party Senator Ung Bun-Ang challenged Hun Sen to name names.

“They’ve been behaving like this for a long time, so we welcome the prime minister to make the an­nounce­ment. Instead of just talking about it, he should come out with the names and get it over with,” Ung Bun-Ang said.

“He can install as many spies as he wishes. We are transparent, so it makes no difference,” he said.

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay added that the CPP always re­lies on spies, so he was not surprised—though he did not know who they were.

But Khem Veasna, a lawmaker who recently left the party but re­tains an opposition seat at the Na­tional Assembly, said the spies were many and well-placed.

“The main people in the party are the spies, but I don’t know which ones,” Khem Veasna said.

“Sam Rainsy also understands a lot about that—when I was there I al­ways talked with him about that.”

He added that he had left the par­ty because he felt it was not a genuine political entity, but was intended to lend credibility to the CPP’s version of democracy ra­ther than to become the ruling par­ty.

Center for Social Development Pre­sident Chea Vannath called Hun Sen’s announcement a symptom of Cambodia’s immature de­mo­cracy.

“While the advanced democracy counts on the support of the people for the government, Cambodia is still using spies, threats, pressure,” she said.

Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, compared Hun Sen’s an­nounce­ment to the 1972 Watergate scandal, when former US Pre­­sident Rich­ard Nixon was found to have been wire tapping his political opponents, revelations of which led to his im­peachment and re­signation.

“In other countries, if they make [spying] public, it’s a big scandal,” Koul Panha said.

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