In Cambodia, an Unnamed Donor’s Gift of 290 Chinese Trucks to Army and Police Raises Concerns

Sandra Loyd

In Cambodia, an Unnamed Donor’s Gift of 290 Chinese Trucks to Army and Police RaisesConcerns

Critics state the trucks will be utilized versus civilians in a federal government crackdown

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen‘s kid revealed a delivery of 290 Chinese- made military trucks on Thursday, stating the vehicles were not help from Beijing however presents from unnamed donors — triggering worries they w ill be released versus civilians in the middle of a three-year crackdown on the opposition.

At an event to disperse the vehicles to the militaries and police, Hun Manet, Hun Sen’s oldest kid and leader of the Royal Cambodian Army, parried criticisms of the acquisition, stating that the money for the trucks originated from private contributions and did not cost Cambodia a single riel.

The unnamed donors “desire to upgrade the military’s capability t o serve the nation and people,” he stated at the event.

” Purchasing the trucks was not a waste of money, stated the four-star general.

He stated the vehicles, bought a year previously, would be utilized throughout natural catastrophes such as floods and wildfires and to protect Cambodia’s interests in a border conflict with Vietnam that goes back to end of French colonial guideline in the 1950 s.

” The military can’t jump on motorcycles to assist people in cases of emergency situation. The trucks are a brand-new method to increase the military’s capability in serving t he nation and individuals,” s help.

Hun Manet rejected that the trucks, which showed up by ship recently, were a gi feet from the Chinese federal government. Beijing’s political assistance is seen by careful Cambodians as entrenching Hun Sen’s authoritarian policies while deepening Chinse impact on the nation.

“We do not need to lie, If they were donated by China, then we will say it is a Chinese donation,” he stated. “If it was a Chinese donation and we said we purchased the trucks, would they agree?”

Hun Manet did not expose the names of the donors, however the military set up a sign at the event stating the vehicles were contributed by Hun Sen and his spouse.

Trucks for crackdowns

Critics are worried that the trucks will be utilized to assist the federal government more effectively rule over the Cambodian people– 3 years after Hun Sen prohibited the nation’s main opposition party and apprehended its leader, in a crackdown that still sees activists apprehended each week,

” The trucks will be utilized to fracture down on individuals, not to battle versus a Vietnamese intrusion,” Um Sam An, a former legislator from the prohibited Cambodia National Rescue Party informed RFA’s Khmer Service

He explained that Cambodia’s military had no difficulty reacting to a current border occurrence in Kandal province.

” These trucks will be utilized to safeguard [Hun Manet’s] dad’s power,” stated Um Sam An, who likewise disagreed with dispersing some of the vehicles to the police.

“Police don’t need large trucks, so it is inappropriate,” he stated.

Another critic contacted the federal government to be more transparent about the donors.

” Donors never ever conceal their identities,” Kim Sok, a Finland-based analyst, informed RFA.

” These trucks will be utilized to activate the military to fracture down on mass demonstrations versus Hun Sen’s dictatorship,” Kim Sok stated.

While the expense of the trucks was not exposed, RFA reported in late July 2019 that Hun Sen exposed he had actually assigned U.S. $40 million to purchase undefined arms from China, on top of $290 million it had actually currently invested in military buy from Beijing.

The 2 countries staged joint military works out over the final 2 months of March, when China remained in the thick of its COVID-19 action.

With Cambodia separated from Western trade partners given that the crackdown on the opposition, Beijing has actually provided its full assistance for Hun Sen’s federal government. In turn, Cambod ia has actually progressively backed Chinese positions on international concerns, consisting of in conflicts in the South China Sea.

Chinese inve stment has actually streamed into Cambodian realty, farming and home entertainment, however Cambodians frequently chafe at what they state are deceitful business practices and coarse habits by Chinese locals, and stress that their nation is progressively flexing to Beijing’s will.

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Equated by Samean Yun. Composed in English by Eugene Whong.

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