CAMBODIA’S Prime Minister Hun Sen has lashed out at opposition-affiliated netizens who have allegedly spread rumours of his illness and death on Facebook.
Having been hospitalised in Singapore in May, the 64-year-old lashed out at “fake news” on Tuesday, including claims about his ailing health and that he had died in a plane crash.
“If you pray for Hun Sen to die, you will be in danger first. It is the burial land for all of you,” Hun Sen said, as quoted by the Phnom Penh Post. “I want to send this to the opposition party that has supporters who do such a thing … the danger might be on yourself.”
Cambodia’s government has been widely criticised for threats of violence against the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), as the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) tries to cling to power.
Hun Sen has been in power for three decades – making him one of the longest-serving world leaders on the planet. In May, he warned of “civil war” if the CPP did not continue to “win elections, every election.”
Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh later declared he would “smash the teeth” of opposition supporters if protests erupted after the country’s local elections.
“I’ll break their teeth and won’t tolerate any nonsense because we’ve been wasting too much time on them,” he said.
— Rainsy Sam (@RainsySam) July 22, 2017
The government recently lifted a ban on former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy from entering the country after he mocked Hun Sen’s lack of “bravery.”
Local commune elections in June saw the CNRP win 46 percent of the vote compared with 51 percent for the CPP, despite being an election Human Rights Watch declared neither free nor fair.
Earlier in July, however, Hun Sen’s regime changed electoral laws ahead of the 2018 national elections in a move seen by many as an attempt to further disadvantage the opposition.
In 2013, a number of CNRP supporters were killed during protests after widespread accusations of electoral fraud in the national election.