Reliable sources within the Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) have confirmed that Cambodia’s deputy prime minister, Samdech Sok An has died.
Rumours have circulated around the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh for days concerning Sok An’s ill-health, with Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan denying on Tuesday morning (March 14) that the man described as prime minister Hun Sen’s right-hand man had died.
“For me, I learned that he is OK; he did not pass away yet. We checked [Monday] night,” Siphan said.
On Monday, the deputy prime minister, who was also the Minister for the Office of the Council of Ministers, was bestowed with the honorfiic title of “Samdech”. Translated as “Lord” in English, the title put Sok An in an elite group of seven non-royals, including prime minister Hun Sen and his wife, Bun Rany, to hold the title.
It now appears that the title was a last gift to a dying man.
“He deserves to have that [title of Samdech]; he’s been serving the public since 1979,” Siphan said.
Sok An’s body was scheduled to be returned to Cambodia from Paris where he was receiving treatment either late Wednesday or early Thursday, when an official announcement is expected of his death.
Our source within the CPP stated that Sok An’s death, which had been anticipated for quite some time, would not affect the internal running of the party. Cambodia has communal election this June, with a general election in July 2018.
Sok An was born on April 16, 1950, in Takeo province. He was married to Lok Chumteav Annie Sok An, and had five children.