Firebrand US Senator Mitch McConnell called Prime Minister Hun Sen “an enemy of democracy and justice,” and dubbed National Police Director General Hok Lundy a “gangster” in a statement to the US Senate Tuesday.
“Under Hun Sen’s misrule, terrorists, criminal triads and pederasts find a haven in Cambodia,” McConnell said, according to a copy of the statement.
The Republican Party member called Hok Lundy a “notorious human rights abuser and gangster” and said he should be held accountable for the violence that followed the 1998 elections. He slammed the US Embassy in Phnom Penh for recently issuing Hok Lundy a visa to enter the US.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith on Thursday discounted the senator’s scathing remarks.
A longtime supporter of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, McConnell has in recent years made several similar attacks on the Hun Sen government.
“This is a private opinion,” Khieu Kanharith said. “One senator is not the White House or [US] Congress…. If [McConnell] was pro-CPP or pro-Hok Lundy, it would be a surprise to me.”
Hok Lundy would not speak to a reporter Thursday.
He was recently in the US, attending an annual meeting “on the invitation of the International Association of Police Chiefs,” Khieu Kanharith said. Hok Lundy has since returned.
McConnell expressed “great disappointment” with the US Embassy in Phnom Penh.
“Why the embassy would issue a visa to someone who is considered by many of his own compatriots to be a terrorist is beyond me,” he said.
The US Embassy cannot comment on individual visa applications, an embassy spokeswoman said Thursday. “If an individual is issued a visa to travel to the US, they have met [US] requirements,” the spokeswoman said.
McConnell also voiced sympathy for popular singer Touch Srey Nich, who was shot three times Oct 21 and is now receiving treatment at a Bangkok hospital.
“Her only crime [was] apparently being a supporter of a non-CPP party,” McConnell said.