Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trio ‘sorry’ for South Korea protest

Trio ‘sorry’ for South Korea protest

Cambodian migrant workers burn pictures of Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2014 during a demonstration in the South Korea. Photo supplied
Cambodian migrant workers burn pictures of Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2014 during a demonstration in the South Korea. Photo supplied

Trio ‘sorry’ for South Korea protest

With the threat of being investigated by a Korean “special intelligence” unit hanging over their heads, three Cambodian migrant workers in South Korea have made a public apology for burning a picture of Prime Minister Hun Sen and broadcasting the images on Facebook two years ago.

In a video posted yesterday by Cambodian Ambassador to South Korea Suth Dina, Chum Marady, 26; Bun Thon, 22; and Em Rat, 24, are seen sitting with the diplomat seeking clemency for their actions, which occurred during an anti-Hun Sen protest in South Korea in early 2014.

“Now I have had a change of heart when I think about it again,” said Marady, the sole protester to speak in the video. “It is my fault, I’m sorry and I want the Cambodian government’s leader to accept my apology.”

The picture burning in Korea was in response to the shooting of five protesters on Veng Sreng Boulevard, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in January 2014, after security forces opened fire on rock-throwing garment workers demanding a rise to the county’s minimum wage.

Contacted yesterday, Marady reiterated his apology, and said the group of three had come forward after Ambassador Dina posted a public message on Facebook last Thursday, warning that he was working with a special South Korean unit to find illegal migrants in Korea who were behind anti-government protests.

Dina has long-warned migrants in Korea to stay away from anti-government protests and has previously claimed to be working with Korean authorities to break-up networks of activists he says are being led by illegal workers.

In the video, Dina says those who had come forward over the public burning would not face further action.

“They want to show their heart to the Cambodian people and the Cambodian government for their fault in burning the picture of Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2014, in order for Cambodian government to be lenient on them,” he says.

Dina declined to comment further yesterday, but in a post accompanying the video, said he was working with the Korean authorities to find two more protesters involved in the picture burning.

In November, Dina warned expatriates to stay away from a reception for visiting Cambodia National Rescue Party leaders or face “arrest and deportation”.

The Korean Embassy declined to comment yesterday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul could not be reached.

But Yi Sinorn, the president of a CNRP-aligned youth group in Korea, said that the ambassador was drumming up fear to limit freedom of expression.

“I know this story clearly and no Korean authorities have arrested activist Cambodian workers in Korea,” he said. “You know in Korea, everyone has freedom of speech.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused