A senior Cambodian People’s Party official and former Minister of National Defence General Bou Thang died at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh early yesterday morning due to illness. He was 82-years-old.
According to an announcement by the CPP’s Central Committee issued yesterday, a funeral will be held in Tes Anlong village in Boeng Kanseng commune, which is located in Ratanakiri province’s Banlung city. It added that it will be a traditional funeral.
“Details for the funeral procession and burial ceremonies will come later,” the announcement noted.
According to the statement, Gen Thang was a member of the Standing Committee of the CPP’s Central Committee.
He also previously held positions as an adviser to the King, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, a lawmaker, and as chairman of the 4th Committee of the Senate.
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday sent a letter of condolence to the family, noting that Gen Thang was a patriot for his bravery and devoted his life in the struggle to liberate the nation and the Cambodian people from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.
Mr Hun Sen added that Gen Thang also actively contributed to the rehabilitation and development of the nation across all sectors.
Mr Hun Sen noted that Gen Thang also sought to promote the rights of ethnic minorities, transformed the northeastern parts of the Kingdom into a fast-developing region, and left a legacy of service in the Senate that contributed to the strengthening of democracy and rule of law in the Kingdom.
“On this very sad occasion, my wife and I would like to share our deepest condolences and regret to the family of the deceased,” Mr Hun Sen said.
Gen Thang was born on August 15, 1938 in Ka Chon village, located in Ratanakiri province’s Veun Sai district. He is survived by his wife and five children, including Thang Savun, who is the current Governor of Ratanakiri province.
Gen Thang was fluent in three foreign languages, Vietnamese, Laotian and Thai, before he joined the Cambodian government in 1970.
In 1974, he fled to Vietnam and joined an anti-Pol Pot movement. In 1978, he called for internal insurrection against the Democratic Kampuchea regime and was one of the founding members of the United Front for the National Salvation of Kampuchea, according to Historical Dictionary of Cambodia.
He later became a member of the Standing Committee of the CPP’s Central Committee, where he remained until his death.
Gen Thang was a Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence between 1986 and 1992, during which he became a four-star general.
From 1993 until 2012, Gen Thang was a lawmaker in Ratanakiri province, before he became the chairman of the 4th Committee of the Senate from 2012 until 2016.
Since 2016, he became a Deputy Prime Minister and was an advisor to Senate President Say Chhum.
Mr Chhum also expressed condolences over the death of Gen Thang. He said Gen Thang was a hero who will be remembered for his fight in liberatating the country, preventing the return of Pol Pot’s regime, and developing the nation toward economic and social prosperity, as well as maintaining peace and stability in the Kingdom.
“Mr Bou Thang was a good colleague of mine and served in the Senate for a third mandate, leaving a legacy of numerous achievements for future generations to learn from,” Mr Chhum said.
CPP officials, National Working Group for Ratanakiri province, Ratanakiri provincial administration, and other government officials yesterday also shared massages of condolences and prayers to Gen Thang’s family.