Hun Sen Warns Nephew Over Alleged Lover

2 min read
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks about his nephew Hun Chea’s lover at a groundbreaking ceremony in Kratie on January 2, 2023. (Hun Sen’s Facebook page)
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Hun Sen warned his nephew Hun Chea and an alleged lover to end their relationship, publicly naming the woman and revealing her Facebook account at a government event.

The prime minister was at a groundbreaking ceremony for a bridge in Kratie province when he abruptly started talking about how he was tired because he had spent Sunday night texting his family after he saw a photo of Chea and the woman. 

The prime minister’s official Facebook account has similar musings about the photo from Sunday night.

“A woman who posted with Chea is not Chea’s wife. She is the mistress of Chea,” he said at the event in Kratie on Monday.

Hun Sen then elaborated on Chea’s personal life and said he had yet to divorce his wife and asked Neth Savoeun, who is the National Police chief and married to Hun Sen’s niece, to talk to Chea about the alleged lover.

He even threatened to strip away his nephew’s status as a three-star officer, and made an oblique reference to Cambodia’s monogamy law.

The prime minister asked for the two to take down their photos together on Facebook, even using a strong and insulting word in Khmer to refer to the woman.

He admitted that he probably shouldn’t have spoken about Chea’s marriage but that this was a matter that concerned the Hun family.

“Actually, it should not be talked about … but this is about our flesh and blood that has created an issue. It is a matter of an individual but that individual is related to the lineage,” he said.

Bunn Rachana, the head of feminist organization Klahaan, said it was surprising to hear Hun Sen talk about Chea and the woman publicly because it was a personal matter and not government work.

Handling it privately “will not waste the time of samdech in thinking of managing and leading the nation,” she said.

She added that the prime minister should not have posted the woman’s photo or put the blame on her because it would affect her reputation in public.

Cambodia passed a monogamy law in 2006, with observers suggesting the law was intended to target late Prime Minister Norodom Ranarridh. After the law passed, his wife Marie Ranarridh filed a court complaint alleging he had violated the law for being in a relationship with classical dancer Ouk Phalla.

In 2016, former CNRP president Kem Sokha was forced into a self-imposed house arrest at the party headquarters after he was accused of having a lover. He was convicted for procurement.

In the same case, the alleged lover went to rights group Adhoc for help after which she accused them of bribing her to lie about the alleged relationship. Four staffers from the NGO and an election official, who previously worked there, were convicted and spent around 14 months in prison.

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