Cambodia probes possible coup plot against Hun Sen

The military is investigating a suspected coup plot against Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, a Cambodian Ministry of National Defense official said yesterday, amid rising political tension in the nation.

The army investigation centers on a man who announced plans to topple Hun Sen in Facebook and YouTube videos, and called on others to join his cause, ministry spokesman Chhum Sucheat said.

“The authorities are investigating and looking for him,” Chhum Sucheat told reporters.

He identified the man as Vichea Som, but declined to give further details.

News of the plot comes a day after a senior US official responsible for human rights urged Cambodia’s political rivals to return to negotiations amid a “deteriorating situation.”

In the video, the man the ministry identified as Vichea Som is dressed in a business suit and tie with a camouflage background visible in the footage.

He did not identify himself, but accused Hun Sen’s government and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of being behind big land grabs in one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries.

He also accused the government of high-profile killings and human rights abuses.

“In the near future, please all forces be ready against the dictatorial regime,” the man said.

He did not specifically call for a coup or threaten to organize a coup in the video.

It was not clear where he was speaking from, but he said he belonged to a “unit” based in southwestern Cambodia.

A Facebook page bearing the name Vichea Som showed the same man.


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