Warning Banned Politician, General Cites Khieu Samphan Beating

An Interior Ministry official clarified on Monday that Australian politician Hong Lim, who has been banned from the country for criticizing the ruling CPP, was still a Cambodian citizen, but said he would be beaten by a mob if he tried to return.

Mr. Lim, a member of parliament in the Australian state of Victoria who was blacklisted by the government in August after calling it a “beast,” led protests against Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son Hun Manet on Friday, prompting a CPP spokesman to say he had “given up his Khmer nationality.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said on Monday that Mr. Lim was still a Cambodian citizen, but would be met by a violent mob if he came back to his home country.

“There is nobody who has the right to remove Khmer citizenship from him because this is the law. But I think that he is no longer Khmer because he insulted his own nation,” General Sopheak said.

“I think that the Khmer people will beat him if he comes to Cambodia anytime,” he added. “It will be worse than when they beat Mr. Khieu Samphan in 1991.”

A mob of dozens of angry people descended on the Phnom Penh villa meant to be Khieu Samphan’s new home when he returned to the country in November 1991 following the signing of a peace deal with the government.

A report in The New York Times describes a four-hour assault that left Khieu Samphan “dazed and bleeding from the head” before soldiers stepped in to stop the attack.

Mr. Lim did not respond to questions on Monday about Gen. Sopheak’s remarks, but railed against Mr. Hun Sen and his administration in an email last week, saying that the premier’s “blood-sucking rule is unsustainable.”

“We can clearly see all the signs, his increasing desperation, his isolation from his traditional base…politicizing the judiciary and now the armed forces, brutalizing and alienating millions that are not necessarily CNRP supporters.”

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