& # 039; Mafia hub: Cambodian activist says the corrupt elite is attracted to Aust

Kem Sokha's daughter has labelled Australia the 'mafia hub' of Cambodia's corrupt elite.

Monavithya Sokha, the daughter of Cambodia's dissident opposition leader, is pressing the Australian government to impose sanctions on Cambodians who visit Australia and have links to the Hun Sen regime.

"We have not seen concrete actions yet, but I hope that in the coming months, weeks, the Australian government will finally take over the task," he told SBS.

His visit to the Vat Khemarangsaram Buddhist temple in west Sydney has brought hope to the Cambodian Australians, who, after last month's elections, have lost faith in their country's democracy.

"We are very concerned about what is happening in Cambodia," said Virak Um, who arrived in Australia as a refugee 35 years ago.

The visit of Monavithya Sokha has brought hope to the Cambodian Australians.

SBS

Srey Khang said he only wants the family and friends of his country to receive the same freedom they gave him when he moved here in 1994.

"We want democracy in our country, we want people to have the right we have in Australia," he told SBS.

After dissolving the main opposition party, Prime Minister Hun Sen won an overwhelming victory in a vote that many described as a farce.

But as the controversy surrounding the elections slips out of the headlines, Sokha, the daughter of imprisoned opposition leader Kem Sokha, is in Australia to ensure the plight of Cambodians is not forgotten.

New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley says the presence of corrupt Cambodian elites in Australia has stoked fear in the community.

New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley says the presence of corrupt Cambodian elites in Australia has stoked fear in the community.

SBS

& # 39; Mafia Hub & # 39;

Ms. Sokha has labeled Australia as the "mafia center" of the corrupt elite of Cambodia.

"This is your number one destination in the world, Australia, because you are close to us, Cambodia, so they set up their businesses here, they send their children to school here."

Ms. Sokha calls on the federal government to impose visa bans and asset freezes on those who have ties to the People's Party of Cambodia, which it governs.

She has the backing of New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley, who says his presence here has fueled fear in the community.

"I am regularly approached by Australian citizens of Cambodian origin who tell me of the fear that was generated when representatives of the Hun Sens regime undertake the surveillance and intimidation of Australian citizens," he told a joint press conference in Sydney with Ms. Sokha.

Next week, Ms. Sokha will meet with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in an effort to convince her to take a tougher stance against the Hun Sen regime.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs told SBS News that he has "serious concerns with the 2018 national election process."

"We have repeatedly raised our concerns about the political situation in Cambodia privately and publicly, including at the UN Human Rights Council.

"We will continue to raise our concerns and encourage the Cambodian Government to take measures to allow a free and open political debate without violence or intimidation."

Faith in Australia

Ms. Sokha said that the fate of Cambodia's democracy is in the hands of the international community, and that she has a lot of faith in the role Australia can play, thanks to the support of the local community.

"I have to say that this is the most impressive community organization we have outside of Cambodia, and my meeting with Ms. Bishop has been organized by the community."

Next to her in Canberra is the Victorian Labor MP Hong Lim, who has long been Kem Sokha's friend and advocate for the Cambodian community.

Monovithya Sokha says he has faith in the role that Australia can play in restoring democracy in Cambodia, thanks to the support of the local community.

Monovithya Sokha says he has faith in the role that Australia can play in restoring democracy in Cambodia, thanks to the support of the local community.

SBS

After Australia played a pivotal role in the revitalization of Cambodia's democracy in the early 1990s, Lim said it is a "tragedy" that the country has now withdrawn.

"Australia organized, under the supervision of the UN, the first democratic and free election for Cambodia at that time, but now we are retreating," he told SBS News.

"It's sad because Australia is admired in the Asia-Pacific region, to take the lead on issues related to human rights, with respect to corruption, with respect to a dictatorship like in Cambodia."

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