Cambodia ranks as one of the world’s most corrupt countries – but after an extensive forensic investigation, Al Jazeera found that corruption stretches far beyond the country’s borders, all the way to Australia. In 2016, the anti-corruption NGO, Global Witness, released a ground-breaking report exposing the widespread business interests of long-standing Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, his family and their cronies. Hun Sen’s family was shown to have links to more than 100 companies across all sectors of the economy including tourism, agriculture, mining, electricity and the media as well as affiliations with top international brands. The family’s combined wealth is estimated to be anywhere from $500m to $1bn.
Kem Ley, a popular Cambodian social commentator and fearless critic of the Hun Sen government’s corruption and nepotism, went on radio calling for a full investigation into the family’s business interests.
Two days later, he was shot in broad daylight in a Phnom Penh cafe.
It was his death that started 101 East on a journey to investigate the hidden wealth of Hun Sen and the ruling party elite.