Hok Lundy was a powerful official in the Cambodian People’s Party who weathered myriad claims of human rights abuses.
Wake Held; Police Chief’s Crash Investigated
By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
10 November 2008
Hundreds of Cambodia’s top officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, attended a wake for Hok Lundy Monday morning, following a deadly helicopter crash that is under investigation.
Hok Lundy, a close associate of Hun Sen and the nation’s top police official, died when his helicopter crashed in Rumduol district, Svay Rieng province, late Sunday night.
Maligned by critics as a brutal police commander high among the ranks of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, Hok Lundy had been accused by rights groups of serious violations, including murder and torture, and in 2006 was denied US entry on suspicion of involvement of human trafficking. He rejected all charges made against him.
His lieutenant, police Lt. Gen. Neth Savoun, was named acting national police chief Monday.
A separate ceremony for Lt. Gen. Sok Sa Em, deputy commander of RCAF infantry, and two pilots, Tep Setha, 44, and Horn Ratha, 46, was held at Wat Lanka.
“I would like to express my deepest sympathy for the death of Gen. Hok Lundy,” said Lt. Gen. Sok Phal, deputy national police chief. “We’ve lost a high-ranking official in the government…. Right now we’ve sent a team of investigators to the crash site.”
He declined to speculate on the cause of the crash. Aviation officials have said poor weather was likely a factor.
Hok Lundy’s personal driver for more than 20 years, Chan Pov, told VOA Khmer Monday that before the helicopter crash the general had dined with businessmen Kith Meng and Meng Sreang in Phnom Penh.
Chan Pov said his boss decided to visit Svay Rieng “at the last minute,” for undisclosed reasons. Chan Pov drove Hok Lundy to the military airbase adjacent to Phnom Penh International Airport, where he watched him board a Sokha Airlines helicopter.
Prior to takeoff, the pilots looked to the sky, where stars were visible, and said a flight to Svay Rieng would be no problem, Chan Pov said. Fifteen minutes after the helicopter took off, the driver received a call from Sokha Airlines’s office warning of heavy rain over Svay Rieng. By then, Hok Lundy could not be reached by phone, Chan Pov said.
The driver was later able to reach one of the pilots, who told him they would arrive in Svay Rieng “in seven minutes.” Five minutes later, around 7:40 pm, he could not reach the pilots either. Five minutes after that, Phnom Penh International’s tower reported the helicopter had crashed.
Svay Rieng Governor Cheang Am said witnesses around the crash site reported hearing “roaring from the engine” over Doung Sar village, in Rumduol district. The helicopter crashed 15 kilometers outside the village.
Witnesses told the governor the helicopter glanced off a small hillside, as flames burned from its tail, before it crashed. Hok Lundy’s body was found 5 meters from the wreckage, Cheang Am said.
Hok Lundy, who was born in 1950 in the same district where he died, rose to power through the 1980s and became a central committee member of the CPP in 1997, following his promotion to national police chief in 1994.
Human Rights Watch accused him of collaboration in the deadly 1997 grenade attack on opposition protesters, extrajudicial killings in the 1997 CPP putsch and the trafficking of drugs and prostitutes. He was awarded a medal by the FBI for counterterrorism in 2006 and visited top Bureau officials in Washington in 2007. On Monday afternoon Hun Sen, who has so far withheld public comment on Hok Lundy’s death, set a wreath of flowers next to general’s body, which was lying in state, covered by a red cloth, on the floor of his Phnom Penh villa.
Hok Lundy is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters, including Hok Chindavy, who is married to Hun Sen’s son, Hun Manit. Hok Lundy will be buried on Saturday in his hometown.
Radio Free Asia
By Chea Makara
17th November, 2008
Translated from Khmer by Khmerization
National Police Commissioner, Gen. Hok Lundy, (pictured) has died in a helicopter crash on the night of the 9th of November, 2008 at the age of 51.
Gen. Hok Lundy was married to Mrs. Men Pheakdei and he has 5 children, among them there are 3 sons and 2 daughters.
According to the dictionary of the history of Cambodia, written by Mr. Justin Corfield and Mrs. Laura Summers and according to the broadcast of state-owned TVK, Gen. Hok Lundy was born in the Year of the Pig, on the 3rd of February, 1957 in the provincial town of Svay Rieng. He is of Vietnamese descent, born into a family with a military tradition. His father’s name is Hok Nam and his mother’s name is Mom Aun.
Gen. Hok Lundy has 3 siblings and he is the second child. During the Khmer Rouge regime, Gen. Hok Lundy lived in Ta Pov village, Bavet commune, Chantrea district in Svay Rieng province. On the 7th of July, 1977, Gen. Hok Lundy fled to Vietnam and on the 2nd of March, 1978, he joined a Spy Unit of the Army of the United National Salvation Front of Kampuchea. After the 7th of January, 1979, after when the Vietnamese army had toppled the Khmer Rouge regime, Gen. Hok Lundy has received numerous promotions, one after another.
Hok Lundy was appointed as the executive president of the party for Svay Rieng province and became the president of the People’s Revolutionary Committee of Svay Rieng in 1987. In 1990, Hok Lundy was appointed deputy secretary of the party and became the president of the People’s Committee for Phnom Penh City.
In January 1994, Hok Lundy was appointed Governor of Svay Rieng province and in September, 1994 he was appointed National Police Commissioner which he had served until his death.
In January, 1997, Hok Lundy was selected by the Extraordinary Plenum of the Cambodian People’s Party to become the member of the Party Central Committee and he has become a full member of the Central Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party in 2001.
In 2006, the United States has refused Gen. Hok Lundy a visa to attend a conference in America due to allegations that he has been linked to human trafficking activities. But in the same year, Gen. Hok Lundy was awarded a medal by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for his efforts in the fight against terrorism. In 2007, Gen. Hok Lundy was issued with a visa to attend an anti-terrorism conference in Washington DC. Gen. Hok Lundy served as National Police Commissioner for the duration of 14 years and he is the 20th high-ranking official in the Cambodian People’s Party and he has a very close tie with Prime Minister Hun Sen.
In 2002, Hok Lundy’s daughter, Miss Hok Chindavy, was married to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son, Mr. Hun Manet, which has further strengthened the alliance between Gen. Hok Lundy and Prime Minister.
In relation to the allegations that Gen. Hok Lundy has Vietnamese lineage, a member of the Cambodian People’s Party Central Committee, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that Gen. Hok Lundy is not a full-blooded Vietnamese. He added that the allegations have been levelled against him because Gen. Hok Lundy was born on the border with Vietnam and because he can speak Vietnamese as well. He added that Gen. Hok Lundy used to study at Suriyowong College in Svay Rieng province.
Mr. Cheam Yeap said: “His Excellency Hok Lundy is not a full-blooded Vietnamese. I did not know his full biography because he was born in Svay Rieng and I was born in Prey Veng. Because Gen. Hok Lundy was born and lived in Bavet near the border since he was young, so it is easy for someone to accuse him of being a Vietnamese in everything. But in actual fact, we’ve seen that he attended Suriyowong College in Svay Rieng and because he had lived in Bavet, he can speak Vietnamese and can also write Vietnamese as Bavet is located right on the border with Vietnam, so even the Vietnamese who live there can speak Khmer as well.”
Mr. Cheam Yeap regrets the death of Gen. Hok Lundy and said that Gen. Hok Lundy has left many achievements for the nation, including providing security, keep order and providing stability for the Cambodian society.
Mr. Cheam Yeap said: “He has left a lot of achievements. One has to achieve something before they can be promoted. His leadership in the police force, in term of providing security and social order throughout the country, has been excellent and admirable. At the same time, he has established excellent relations with foreign and international police force who acted as a good model for our national police force in order for the next generations to continue his good work.”
However, the British newspaper, the Guardian, has written that, during the street fighting in the power struggle between the Cambodian people’s Party and the Funcinpec Party in 1997, Gen. Hok Lundy had played a very important role in the extra-judicial killings of Funcinpec’s officials, including the detention of Mr. Ho Sok in the Ministry of Interior’s building and he was later executed by the policemen stationed there.
Former Commissioner of Phnom Penh Police, Gen. Heng Pov, has revealed about the killings of many people after he had a fallout with Gen. Hok Lundy.//
National Police Commissioner, Gen. Hok Lundy (pictured), has died in a helicopter crash on Sunday the 9th of November, 2008.
In mid August 2006, former Phnom Penh Police commissioner, Gen. Heng Pov, said in a public statement that Gen. Hok Lundy was behind the grenade attack on the headquarter of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party of Mr. Son Sann on the 30th of September, 1995 which killed more than ten people and the grenade attacks on the Sam Rainsy Party demonstration (on 30th March, 1997) in front of the national Assembly which killed more than 20 people and wounded more than 140 people.
Gen. Heng Pov further accused Gen. Hok Lundy of involving in the execution-style killing of former Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior Ho Sok on the 7th of July, 1997, the killing of actress Pisith Pilika (1999), the killing of ex-Member of Parliament Om Rodsady on the 18th of February, 2003, the killing of union leader Chea Vichea on the 22nd of January, 2004 and the attempted murder of the editor-in-chief of Koh Santepheap newspaper, Mr. Thong Uy Pang, on the 8th of June, 1998.
In response to the accusations that Gen. Hok Lundy was involved in human trafficking, the extra-judicial killings of some officials and many cases of human right abuses, Mr. Cheam Yeap said that not all of the accusations are true and due to the prolonged investigations of those murder cases which made him prone to the accusations.
Mr. Cheam Yeap said: “But if we look at the unsolved cases and cases that have not been brought to justice, the cases that needed 10 to 15 years to solve, there are not many of them left. But in our capacity as the leader we must remind our subordinates or monitor our subordinates to complete their works as soon as can be done.”
President of the investigating team of the human right organisation Licadho, Mr. Ny Chakriya, said that Gen. Hok Lundy has left some achievements, such as the prevention of terrorist acts and maintaining public orders. However, Mr. Ny Chakriya said that Gen. Hok Lundy has not taken actions against those police officers who were involved in the trafficking of humans and human right abuses.
Mr. Ny Chakriya said: “He has left some achievements in the areas of maintaining the stability, safety, security, in the protection of both the people and foreign embassies such as the US embassy. We did not see terrorist acts being committed against foreign embassies like what we’ve seen had happened in other countries. But at the same time, we’ve seen some shortcomings such as we’ve seen some police officers are still engaged in human right abuses such as involved in the tortures and causing bodily harm to the people as well as toward the weak people and these police officers were never been punished. This is the negative aspect during his tenure as the National Police Commissioner.”
Mr. Ny Chakriya added that his human right organisation has investigated the accusations that Gen. Hok Lundy was involved in the killings of Mr. Ho Sok, actress Pisith Pilika and union leader Chea Vichea, but up until now there is no evidence to suggest that the accusations levelled against him are true.
Mr. Ny Chakriya said: “They are the cases which we have also investigated but we have yet to find any evidences linking Gen. Hok Lundy to those acts, so I cannot say that Gen. Hok Lundy was behind all those acts…”
President of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, Mr. Ou Virak, said that during the time of Gen. Hok Lundy serving as Police Commissioner, there are more than 10 cases of politically-motivated extra-judicial killings and that there are many cases of killings of actresses.
Mr. Ou Virak said that, the police knew all about those cases and the police were involved in (the killings/abuses) those cases and they have never found justice for the victims.
Mr. Ou virak said: “There are many cases (of murders) that we know are related to politics, such as Chea Vichea’s murder, the murder of a judge, the grenade attacks. All of these were politically-motivated attacks which have not been solved yet. There are many more cases such as the murder of journalist Khim Sambo and other journalists. At least the police knew something, knew who committed the crimes and they have not acted to punish those criminals or to simply just find justice for the families of the victims. I have seen there are many more new cases, such as the razor blade attacks on DJ Ano who was severely wounded and have died at such a young age and the shootings of many singers whom the police knew as having (romantically) involved with powerful people. These cases are not difficult to investigate, if the police has the will to do it. I believe that the police knew who committed those crimes. But I just ask a question: has the police, in the past, ever fulfilled their duties or not? The answers, I am sure, are that they have never fulfilled their duties and if ones knew (about the crimes) and they did not try to find justice, it means that they are complicit in those crimes as well.”
Mr Ou Virak added that the national police force, led by Gen. Hok Lundy, did not help in maintaining social orders. He said: “For many years, children of powerful people have engaged in gun-fires against each other in the middle of Phnom Penh City and there are policemen and high-ranking officials who are bringing guns with them to the clubs/pubs and the discotheques which sometimes led to shootings which have caused injuries to each other or they have caused injuries to the employees of the places. These are threats against traders and especially they are threats against the people who are doing their normal works to feed their families.”
Please not that Gen. Hok Lundy’s body was taken out of his house in a funeral procession at 7am on the 15th of November, 2008 and was buried at 3pm afternoon on the same day in Bavet village, Bavet commune, Chantrea district, Svay Rieng province.// End/