The Prime Minister dropped a bombshell while speaking to Cambodians in Sydney, Australia, on March 16 – he exposed Radio Free Asia journalist and deputy-director of RFA’s US-based Khmer service, Chun Chanboth, as his spy, and that Mr Chun asked senior military officers to protect him from assassination. He also claimed a “third hand” is behind Kem Ley’s murder.
Mr Chun fled the country in May 2016 to escape a court appearance. But, according to the premier, he always sent intelligence to Lt. Gen. Hun Manet via WhatsApp.
The premier said that Mr Chun met with RCAF’s Lt. Gen. Mao Sophan, and Hun Manet (son of Hun Sen). “Do you know what Chun Chanboth said? That he asked Lt. Gen. Mao Sophan to protect him because he feared being killed by US agents – like Kem Ley was. Chun Chanboth, do swear that you have met with my son and with Lt. Gen. Mao Sophan?”
He added that although Mr Chun insulted him [on air], he collaborated with Hun Sen by collecting information, and the premier had been warned that such covert communications could be exposed if need be.
Addressing the RFA journo, Hun Sen said: “Please confess that you have worked with Lt. Gen Mao Sophan and Hun Manet. None of my officials knew of it. I have kept this secret for you.”
And in response to Bou Rachana’s [spouse of the late Kem Ley, now living in Australia] calling via Facebook for anti-Hun Sen protests in Sydney, he said he is investigating her husband’s death, claiming a “third hand” is behind the assassination. “Ms Bou is wrong in seeing me as her enemy … seriously wrong.” The premier, who paid for Kem Ley’s funeral and stupa, said: “Why do you accuse me of killing Kem Ley? On the contrary, I respected him as a political analyst. Kem Ley did not oppose Hun Sen; he arranged to meet with me.”
The premier said that they had planned a meeting, and elaborated: “The agents of the ‘dark hand’ knew this, so they took Kem Ley’s life [before we could meet] because Kem Ley aimed to form a political party that would be different from the opposition party [CNRP].”
Hun Sen raised the question: “Who would this benefit?” but left unsaid who the “third hand” or the killers are.