Police Officers Lose their Oknha Title

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni (R) greets government officials (L) during a ceremony marking Independence Day in Phnom Penh on November 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ TANG CHHIN SOTHY
  • Torn Chanritheara
  • December 4, 2019 7:41 AM

Phnom Penh – King Norodom Sihamoni has stripped more than 30 police officers of their honorary Oknha title as part of a reform launched by Prime Minister Hun Sen to prevent conflict of interest for those with state security positions who are also involved in private business.

In a royal decree dated Nov. 23, a total of 36 officers were listed as having lost their honorary title. These included two four-star generals, 10 lieutenant generals, 10 major generals, four brigadier generals, two colonels, two lieutenant colonels, two majors and one captain.

This is the second time that police or military officers have their Oknha titles taken away. Last September, 74 members of the police or armed forces, including members of Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit, lost their Oknha title. 

Earlier this year, Hun Sen warned those who concurrently are in the armed forces or the police while holding Oknha titles that he would not allow Oknhas in government forces. He asked them to choose: either to remain public servants or leave and keep their honorary title. 

So far, 63 generals have given up their title.

Prior to 2017, an individual who made a donation of equipment or cash worth $100,000 or more to Cambodia could obtain the Oknha title. 

The donation requirement has since changed. In a 2017 sub-decree signed by Hun Sen, the threshold was set at $500,000. When the requirement is met by an individual, the government requests that King Sihamoni give that individual the honorary title. 

There is no specific number as to how many people hold the Oknha title in the country.

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