Cambodia scorns US sanctions against senior military officer

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's military has reacted with scorn to an announcement by the United States that it has blacklisted an important senior army officer over human rights abuses, blocking his access to any assets in the U.S.

The Treasury Department announced sanctions Tuesday against Gen. Bun Hieng, commander of Cambodia's Prime Minister Bodyguard Unit, which it said had been engaged in serious human rights violations for at least the past 21 years, including a 1997 incident in which a U.S. citizen received shrapnel wounds.

A Cambodian Defense Ministry statement issued Wednesday expressed regret for the U.S. action, which it called stupid, unjust and not backed by any evidence.

Bun Hieng told The Associated Press that he had not committed human rights abuses and held no property in the United States.