Controversial Tycoon Ly Yong Phat Elevated to Hun Sen’s Adviser, Others Promoted

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Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Senator Ly Yong Phat at an inauguration for the Phnom Penh Municipal Police on September 8, 2022. (Sar Kheng’s Facebook page)
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A business tycoon, court official, journalist and defecting opposition politicians are among a range of recent government promotions to be advisers, assistants and state officials.

A series of royal decrees posted online since late last month have handed new positions to some well-known names, and come amid the elevation of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son Hun Manith to a rank equivalent to minister.

Tycoon and Senator Ly Yong Phat was appointed to be Prime Minister Hun Sen’s personal adviser in a decree dated December 6. Yong Phat is known for his interests in Koh Kong province, including in sugar. The LYP Group also contains PNN TV, while his wife, Kim Heang, has been handed state land on Phnom Penh’s Boeng Tamok lake.

Also on December 6, judge Ros Piseth, who has presided over an opposition mass trial in Phnom Penh, was made president of the Ratanakiri Provincial Court, according to pro-government Fresh News.

On December 3 and 10, the king appointed Pen Bona, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, and Nheb Bunchin, a former Funcinpec party official, to be Information Ministry secretary of state and the government adviser with rank equivalent to minister, respectively.

On November 29 and 30, three Grassroots Democratic Party officials, Yang Saing Koma, Loek Sothea and Khat Sothy, were handed government positions. Saing Koma was made Agriculture Ministry secretary of state as well as a delegate minister attached to the prime minister, while the two others were made Agriculture Ministry undersecretaries of state.

Former CNRP lawmaker Dam Sith was appointed government adviser with a rank equivalent to secretary of state, also on November 30.

Phnom Penh deputy governors Mean Chanyada and Keut Chhe were made assistants to Hun Sen with ranks equivalent to secretary of state in addition to their current positions, on November 26.

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