Ung Bun Heang, Popular Cartoonist, Dies at 61

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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