Hun Sen's Facebook hacked to say he will cede Parliament seats

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen is expected to take all 125 spots in Parliament when official election results are announced next week.
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen is expected to take all 125 spots in Parliament when official election results are announced next week. PHOTO: AFP

PHNOM PENH • Hackers targeted the official Facebook page of Cambodia's Premier Hun Sen yesterday and falsely claimed he would cede several parliamentary seats, an official said, after he swept last month's election virtually uncontested.

The long-serving leader's ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) is expected to take all 125 spots in Parliament when official results are announced next week, cementing Cambodia's status as a one-party state.

But yesterday, hackers broke into Mr Hun Sen's official Facebook page and said the CPP would give away four seats to other parties, a ruling party spokesman confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The perplexing message was up for about an hour and got some 3,300 "likes" before it was removed.

"The news was fake," Mr Sok Eysan told AFP, confirming that there are no plans to share seats with any other parties.

He said Mr Hun Sen's account was likely hacked by "opposition groups or traitors or outlawed rebels".

The post claimed that the seats would go to Funcinpec Party and the League for Democracy Party, both small political parties in Cambodia that took a slim margin of votes last month.

The controversial election was held without the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on the ballot after it was dissolved by a Cambodian court last year and one of its leaders, Kem Sokha, jailed and accused of treason.

The CNRP won 44 per cent of the vote in the previous election, the most credible challenge to Mr Hun Sen's rule since he came to power 33 years ago.

The 66-year-old leader eagerly embraced social media in the run-up to last month's election in a bid to win support from the youth in Cambodia, where two-thirds of its 16 million people are under 30. But he has come under fire for allegedly buying support from so-called "click farms", which he denies.

Voter turnout was more than 80 per cent, though more than 600,000 ballots were spoiled and considered inadmissible, sparking concerns of voter intimidation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2018, with the headline 'Hun Sen's Facebook hacked to say he will cede Parliament seats'. Print Edition | Subscribe