Former deputy prime minister Lu Lay Sreng fled to Thailand yesterday after Prime Minister Hun Sen and Prince Norodom Ranariddh threatened to file a defamation complaint against him.
Mr Hun Sen told about 4,000 garment workers at Koh Pich on Sunday that Mr Lay Sreng insulted the King by comparing him to a castrated rooster.
“He insulted the King by comparing him to a capon,” Mr Hun Sen said. “It is a very serious insult.”
Mr Lay Sreng’s comments were carried in a voice recording on the notorious “Seyha” Facebook page, which is often behind such leaks.
Fresh News published three recordings on Saturday of Mr Lay Sreng, a former senior official of the royalist Funcinpec party, speaking to a woman named as Ky Lum Ang.
Mr Hun Sen said Mr Lay Sreng defamed him by saying he would provide $20,000 to each Funcinpec party official who was prepared to enter the National Assembly after the CNRP was dissolved. He also allegedly described Prince Ranariddh as a bad prince.
Early yesterday morning, Mr Lay Sreng fled to Thailand via Bangkok Airways, an official at the Phnom Penh International Airport confirmed to local media.
Chhuor Kimmy, director of the airport, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mr Lay Sreng issued a video clip to his Facebook page on Saturday to apologise for using words that affected King Norodom Sihamoni and Prince Ranariddh.
He said many Facebook pages accused him of looking down on the King.
“I used some words but I did not intend to insult the King,” Mr Lay Sreng said. “I apologise to all compatriots, especially the Prime Minister and the King. I don’t have any political leanings.”
Mr Hun Sen’s lawyer Ky Tech said yesterday that he has prepared the complaint to sue Mr Lay Sreng and will formally submit it to the municipal court today.
Mr Tech noted that the most important part of the complaint is the claim that Mr Hun Sen would provide $20,000 to each Funcinpec party official.
“Mr Hun Sen will not be doing that as Lu Lay Sreng accused,” he said. “So this is the reason the Prime Minister ordered me to file the complaint.”