March 17, 2018

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's visit to Sydney stirs up anger in expat community

PHOTO: Watt Khemarangsaram, a Cambodian temple in Bonnyrigg, Sydney. (ABC News: Barbara Miller)

By Barbara Miller | ABC News, March 15, 2018

At a Cambodian Buddhist temple in the western Sydney suburb of Bonnyrigg the peaceful rituals of expat life continue, but anger is simmering about Hun Sen's looming visit.

The Cambodian Prime Minister has threatened to hunt down and beat anyone who demonstrates against him during his trip to Sydney this weekend for the ASEAN-Australia summit.

But members of Australia's Cambodian community are pushing ahead with plans to stage protests against a man they say is a "dictator" who "rules Cambodia with an iron fist".

PHOTO: Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen. (Reuters: Samrang Pring)
Addressing a rally late last month, the Cambodian Prime Minister directed his threats at anyone thinking of burning an effigy of him while he attends the Sydney summit.

"I want to make this clear," Hun Sen said.

"If you have the right to burn me, we have our right to beat you up. There is nothing wrong with that. I will follow them home and grab them."

Hun Sen, a regional strongman who has been in power for more than three decades, made the comments in reference to his trip to Sydney at the invitation of the Australian Government to attend a special gathering of South-East Asian leaders.

The summit will also see Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi visit Australia, one of her first foreign appearances since the controversy erupted on the international stage over the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

"If you have the right to burn me, we have our right to beat you up. There is nothing wrong with that. I will follow them home and grab them."



Hun Sen, a regional strongman who has been in power for more than three decades, made the comments in reference to his trip to Sydney at the invitation of the Australian Government to attend a special gathering of South-East Asian leaders.

The summit will also see Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi visit Australia, one of her first foreign appearances since the controversy erupted on the international stage over the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

PHOTO: Worshippers at Watt Khemarangsaram in Sydney. (ABC News: Barbara Miller)

Jimmy Neam, who fled Cambodia for Australia in the 1980s, said Hun Sen should "not be in Australia at all".
"I believe he's got a lot of blood on his hands, I think he's a dictator," he said.

He said dialogue with the Cambodian Prime Minister was futile.

"Engagement is good, if you engage in a productive way," he said.

PHOTO: Jimmy Neam fled Cambodia for Australia in the 1980s. (ABC News: Barbara Miller)
"But we know Hun Sen … he rules the country with an iron fist."

When Vandy Kang first heard about Hun Sen's comments, he was "very upset and very angry".

Mr Kang, 63, came to Australia in 1983 as a refugee.

He tears up still thinking of life under the Khmer Rouge regime of 1970s Cambodia, during which 2 million people died, including his mother and two brothers.

He said Hun Sen's threats would not stop protests going ahead.

"Under the Khmer Rouge, I could not say anything that I wanted to say because we were forbidden from speaking up to express our ideas," he said.

"So now is an opportunity for me and all of us to stand up against Hun Sen."

PHOTO: Vandy Kang, 63, came to Australia in 1983 as a refugee after life under the Khmer Rouge regime of 1970s Cambodia. (ABC News: Barbara Miller)

The threats made by the Cambodian leader nevertheless stoke fear.

Vandy Kang said he was "very concerned".

Hun Sen, he said, "may not be able to come and chase us, but his supporters in Australia may do something, because they are ignorant people, they would follow his orders".

"Anyway, we have to stand up and try to challenge that aggression," he said.

As outlandish as they sound in the Australian context, Hun Sen's comments are "par for the course in Cambodia", according to Lee Morgenbesser, a lecturer at Griffith University's Asia Institute.

"It mainly plays for domestic reasons rather than international reasons," Mr Morgenbesser said.

"Hun Sen likes to sell the narrative in Cambodia that Cambodia is under threat from hostile foreign nations such as the United States, and to a lesser extent Australia.

"He likes to sell the idea that only he can protect and defend Cambodia from these threats."

PHOTO: People pray at Watt Khemarangsaram in Sydney (ABC News: Barbara Miller)

Late last year Hun Sen used the courts to dissolve Cambodia's main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, ahead of elections scheduled for later this year.

The party's leader Kem Sokha was arrested and charged with treason and many of the party's other senior figures fled the country, including Vice-President Mu Sochua.

On a visit last week to Australia as a guest of the Australian National University, Ms Sochua appealed to Australia to send a strong message to the Cambodian Prime Minister at the ASEAN meeting.

"Democracy in Cambodia is dead," she told the ABC, "so what are we waiting for?"

Ms Sochua called for Australia to follow the US and European Union in considering tougher targeted sanctions, calling for the assets in Australia of high-ranking Cambodian officials to be frozen.

"We know that these assets are money that has been taken from the blood and sweat of people in Cambodia," she said.

PHOTO: Khim An Chy said she was "not proud" the Government invited Hun Sen to Australia. (ABC News: Barbara Miller)

The Federal Opposition has denounced Hun Sen's threats, with shadow treasurer Chris Bowen telling Parliament Australia would stand with the Cambodian-Australian community.

"Even if he's Prime Minister, he will not come to our country and behave like that," Mr Bowen said.

The Australian Government has not commented directly, but in a statement said: "Australia, as a liberal democracy, supports freedom of expression, including the right to protest. It goes without saying that violence, or the threat of violence, is not acceptable in Australia."

At the Bonnyrigg temple, Khim An Chy, who came to Australia in 1980, said she was "not proud" that the Australian Government invited Hun Sen to this country.

"In the future, they shouldn't host that sort of summit in Australia when you have leaders like those types," she said.

3 comments:

Kim Ea said...

Please article commentator,stop call this pervert dictator and communist killer as a strong man .This Pm was not a strong man or a strong leader as you think .He is a pure coward with low IQ and weakest leader in the south East region . How you call him a strong man as i know he did not even dared to debate or have face to face challenge with his opponent ? He raise up to the post by Vietnam installed and grabbed his power every term by coerce their winning members to promoted him .He not fair and square voted by popular people once .When this coward PM went some where he order thousand of thugs body guard or thousand of disguise Vietnam secret agent in hundred if not thousand as entourage . Look and hear his speech without script,it was full of provocative or incitement word, real impolite ways to scold opponent or adversary ,he is the most disgusting Khmer PM we ever seen in our entire life .All word he used in a speech, even in front of their high level of young educated graduation,the language was imploding with hatred ,full of uncivilized epithet, some time grudge and expletive too rude than a street thugs gangster used . this showed to all of us that he was not an educated PM. He lead this nation with iron hand used force to coerce instead with style to communicate . Did this is an authentic leadership that you called a strong man ? no it is an absolute dictatorship .

Justice said...

Exactly as communists (Chinese and Vietnamese) wanted to see, aiming to place Khmers reputation as low as it can be. By using their puppets (Hun Sen and CPP) to bark as they please, without having to consult or having appropriate scripts to weight out, whether they should be said in public or not. In most cases nothing to do with development but rather of personal conflicts between him and his adversaries . He loves to frame and defame them. He has no idea of how to run the nation but to take orders from his communist bosses. Right now, Cambodians have no proper leader but fake ones.

As Hun Sen once said there are over 100, 000 Vietnamese armed forces with his system and that he is their puppet, and that no one wants to lose their land and sea but because he is under their controlled. So, Cambodia/Khmers is finished.

These are some of the principles that communists used;

1) to use their whores to win all wars, to be married to high ranking and then to order them of what needs to be done
2) to work as spies, pretending to be Khmers but for their national interests
3) to take control on everything from top to toes, including financial institutions
4) to steal and rob everything of her to feed their billions, from leasing Angkor watt and other national heritages for 99 years collecting billions of dollars for their national interests
5) to migrate in by the millions, to make Khmers becoming a minority group in their own homeland, known as ‘rust kills steel’
6) to make sure that all Khmers are at their mercy, to work as their slaves or even worst, to let them out of the country without having to fight for it (being robbed)
7) to let a few puppies eat as much as they can, just like a mad dog, and then will eliminate them once done.

Hun Sen will go through the fate as all previous Khmer leaders e.g King dumb Sihanouk and all others Khmer Khrom Leaders whom married a communist wives. Hun Sen and most of the CPP members are being married to one of them crooks.

Even Hun Sen’s children are being trained to serve their needs. Therefore, once no longer useful, that is it. Right now, their order is to focus on Khmers killing Khmers or pretending to be Khmers, to continue to kill Khmers. So, wake up Hun Sen, before it’s too late. Otherwise, you will be the next victim just like other leaders before you. So, just look into the past and you will see the future.

kohtral said...

You are mother fucker Ah Hun Sen choy mray