Third Elite’s Bodyguard Promoted After Attack on Lawmaker

Another of Hun Sen’s bodyguards convicted of savagely beating opposition lawmakers outside the National Assembly in 2015 has been promoted, according to a royal decree.

“When they have already served a prison term, it is time to get promoted,” said Sok Eysan, spokesman of the CPP, discussing the promotion. “Don’t wonder much.”

From left to right: Suth Vanny, Mao Hoeun, and Chay Sarith appear outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily and Pring Samrang)

Three bodyguards were given four-year prison sentences after breaking the teeth and rupturing an eardrum of the two opposition lawmakers dragged from their cars during an anti-CNRP rally in October 2015. All three were released after serving just one year in prison.

Chay Sarith, 34, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general after his release, the November 22 royal decree shows. The promotion follows earlier revelations that his two comrades, Mao Hoeun and Suth Vanny, were promoted to colonel.

Contacted on Thursday, Kong Saphea, one of the beaten lawmakers, said the promotions suggest the CPP was behind the beatings.

“Promoting them to higher ranks shows that they are perpetrators that the ruling party organized to beat lawmakers, to attempt to kill lawmakers,” he said. “The law is on the lips of the person who has power.”

In response to Mr. Saphea’s allegations, Mr. Eysan said:

“Whatever he wants to say, because we are democratic country.”

“It is clearly demonstrated here that our county has a right to freedom of expression,” he said.

Neither Defense Minister Tea Banh nor his spokesman Chhum Socheat could be reached for comment.

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