Ung Bun Heang, Popular Cartoonist, Dies at 61
By | February 10, 2014

Ung Bun Heang, the quick-witted political cartoonist behind the Sacravatoons blog, died in Sydney on Saturday following a long illness at the age of 61.

Mr. Bun Heang toiled for three years in a Khmer Rouge labor camp, using this experience in later years to shape many of his drawings.

After the fall of the regime, he fled to Australia and began to draw—first, recounting what he had witnessed, and then going on to satirize the dramas of Cambodian politics.

He depicted many of the issues plaguing the country and its people, from land grabs to deforestation, corruption and human rights abuses.

The politically sensitive nature of his cartoons fell afoul of the government, and in January 2011, his website, along with KI-Media, which also posted his cartoons, went dark.

Emails obtained at the time showed that the director of the ministry’s directorate of telecommunications policy ordered them blocked.

On Twitter, his son, Justin Ung, wrote: “You’ll never really know how much you were loved. Not just by me, but everyone.”

Theary Seng, executive director of the Center for Social Development, said she had met the cartoonist last year at his home.

“He was a rare jewel in Cambodian current politics and a bridge to the past,” Ms. Seng said. “That’s why the loss is really great.”

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The Court of Appeal on Tuesday upheld a 2012 conviction of encroaching on public land, but significantly reduced the sentence, against businesswoman Chhin Sokountheary for illegally filling in part of a Phnom Penh lake.

Police in Kompong Speu province on Monday night stopped three container trucks on National Road 4 bound for Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, seizing more than 100 logs of illegal luxury wood, officials said.

Officials from the opposition CNRP announced Tuesday that they will file lawsuits against deputy Daun Penh district governor Sok Penhvuth, who on Monday ordered district security guards to attack a small and peaceful group of CNRP supporters near Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park.

A group of bus drivers and representatives of the Cambodian Labor Confederation (CLC) on Tuesday submitted a petition to Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng to intervene in their dispute with the Sorya Bus Transportation Company.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday ordered embattled union leader Ath Thorn to stay away from the SL garment factory and its workers and to avoid any public gatherings that could “damage public order,” drawing a tight circle around one of the country’s most influential independent union bosses.

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