1. Kith Meng
Kith Meng is a dual Cambodian-Australian citizen with a BA from Australian National University, notorious for using his bodyguards to coerce others into brokering deals. As the chairman and CEO of Royal Group of Companies, the largest company in Cambodia, he is also the chairman of mobile phone company Cam GSM Co., Cambodia Television Network, Cambo Six European soccer betting Co., and CamLot Lottery Co. He has also become an exclusive distributor of Canon products and owns the Northbridge International School and the Cambodiana Hotel. One of the most widely recognized achievements of the Royal Group is its new joint venture with Australian-based ANZ bank, in which both companies established ANZ Royal Bank in 2005. Kith Meng also launched a new Cambodian insurance company, Infinity General Insurance, through a joint venture with Kuala Lumpur-based Infinity Financial Solutions. Kith Meng serves as an advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen and serves on the board of the Cambodian Red Cross, whose President is Hun Sen’s wife, Bun Rany.
2. Ly Yong Phat
Ly Yong Phat is of Cambodian-Thai descent and has a stronghold Koh Kong province bordering Thailand. He amassed a fortune from importing and exporting cigarettes, generating electricity and running casinos and resorts. He has good relations with businessmen and government officials on both sides of the Cambodian-Thai border, including particularly close ties to Cambodian officials of Thai heritage such as Defense Minister Tea Banh, Navy Commander Tea Vinh, and Koh Kong Governor Yuth Phouthang. Sihanoukville Governor Say Hak is his cousin. He serves as a senator and advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen. He also sits on the board of the Cambodian Red Cross, headed by Hun Sen’s wife. He is the CEO and Chairman of the cigarette distributor Hero King Co. Ltd, an administrator and majority shareholder of Koh Kong Sugar Industry Co., Ltd, and the Koh Kong Plantation Co., Ltd. The Cambodian Center for Human Rights reported that, after receiving land concessions that exceed the legal limit of 10,000 hectares from the government in 2006, Ly Yong Phat used his influence to send armed military police forces to grab land from villagers and to clear their lands by burning down their crops and trees.
3. Mong Reththy
Mong Reththy has emerged as one of the most influential businessmen in Cambodia and is often referred to as “Hun Sen’s Money Man.” He founded Mong Reththy Group Co., Ltd, which initially exported rubber to Singapore, Malaysia, China, and other Asian countries. His company has now expanded and made a fortune in palm oil and cattle. Mong Reththy has also launched other companies such as Samnang Khmeng Wat Construction Co., Ltd, which received an exclusive contract to construct buildings for all of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s charity projects. He has contributed greatly to Cambodia’s infrastructure by building schools, pagodas, hospitals, roads and bridges. His business portfolio also includes the Green Sea Agricultural Co. economic land concession in Stung Treng province, which is ten times the size permitted by Cambodia’s Land Law of 2001. Mong Reththy is likely the closest business tycoon and ally to Prime Minister Hun Sen, given that they take trips together to China and they both lived in the same temple in Phnom Penh while attending secondary school. Mong Reththy owns a private port, Oknha Mong Port near Sihanoukville, which he uses to export his agricultural products. Mong Reththy also entered into a $50 million joint venture with Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi to build the first Cambodian sugar refinery in 2008. He is a Vice President of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Cambodian Red Cross and serves as a Cambodia People’s Party senator.
4. Sy Kong Triv
Sy Kong Triv is the chairman of KT Pacific Group, a manufacturing and distribution company that provides one of the largest varieties of services in the country. He personally owns many local businesses including KTE Mitsubishi electronics and the Mondial Center, the largest business and wedding reception center in Phnom Penh. He also has joint ventures in a number of diverse businesses including British American Tobacco, Eastern Steel Industry Corporation and SCA Airport, through which he owns a large portion of the Phnom Penh International Airport. He is also the co-director along with Lao Meng Khin (co-owner of Pheapimex) of a Chinese tree plantation company called Wuzhishan LS, which has been accused of environmental degradation in sacred ancestral areas, negatively affecting the health of the local indigenous population, according to the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee. Sy Kong Triv is one of the Cambodia People’s Party’s main financiers. He is also a Vice President of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce and an advisor to the Association of Khmer-Chinese of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
5. Kok An
Kok An first became involved in the fishing business and the cigarette industry. He also broadened his business interests when he started operating Crown Resorts Casino in Poipet and soon after built a power plant. Kok An is managing director of ANCO Brothers Company Ltd, a Cambodian company that distributes tobacco for Singapura United Tobacco Ltd. and distributes cigarettes for British American Tobacco in Cambodia. Kok An has strong ties to the ruling party and was reportedly one of the people who helped pay the $50 million in compensation to Thailand for damage to the Thai Embassy during the anti-Thai riots in early 2003. He currently serves as Cambodia People’s Party senator and advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen. He also is a member of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the Cambodian Red Cross.
6. Sok Kong
Sok Kong, founder of Cambodia’s leading oil company Sokimex spent the Khmer Rouge era in Vietnam and returne after the collapse of the regime. He began a business distributing and supplying Vietnamese-manufactured rubber products such as bicycle tires. He soon created his own rubber mill and secured a contract with the government to produce rubber shoes made from tires. He also supplied the government with military uniforms, food and medicine for military personnel. His company, Sokimex, sells to both the government and the private sector. Although its primary product is petroleum from Vietnam, it has also expanded to provide transport, power, agro-industry, rubber plantations and tourism services. One of Sokimex’s biggest successes was acquiring the ticketing rights to Angkor Wat in 1999. There is much controversy surrounding the revenue from Angkor Wat as reports suggest that Sokimex is grossly underreporting the amount of money it makes from ticket sales. In addition, Angkor Wat conservation advocates say that insufficient revenue from these sales is dedicated to temple preservation. Sok Kong has also allegedly gained a bad reputation for not paying taxes on oil, but has recently made efforts to increase tax payments. He is still very close to Hun Sen and the government hierarchy.
7 & 8. Lao Meng Khin & Yeay Phu
Lao Meng Khin and his wife Yeay Phu (aka Choeung Sopheap) are considered one of the most politically and economically connected couples in the country. They are the co-owners of Pheapimex Fu Chan Co. Ltd, a controversial logging company that has expanded to cover salt iodisation, iron ore extraction, bamboo cultivation, pharmaceutical imports and hotel construction. According to a number of NGOs that monitor environmental issues, Pheapimex is the company that has acquired the largest total land area through the logging business. Recently, the company has shifted from logging concessions to economic land concessions, by which it now has access to at least 315,028 hectares of land for agribusiness. Phu, who is of Chinese origin, uses her contacts in China to attract foreign investment from Chinese companies such as Wuzhishan LS and Jiangsu Taihu International. Her husband, Lao Meng Khin, is a Vice President of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, and he serves as a Cambodia People’s Party senator and advisor to Hun Sen. Together, they have a joint venture with Sy Kong Triv through Wuzhishan LS for a pine tree plantation in Mondulkiri province. Yeay Phu is also a board member of the Cambodian Red Cross.
9. Lim Chhiv Ho
Lim Chhiv Ho is seen as one of Cambodia’s most well-connected women. She is the Managing Director of Attwood Import Export Co., Ltd, the official distributor in Cambodia for Hennessy Cognac and popular brands of beer and whisky including Johnnie Walker and Heineken. As a growing company, Attwood has diversified its services and now owns hotels, real estate and property development firms as well. The company has received contracts from the government to develop Special Economic Zones in Sihanoukville and Bavet near the Vietnamese border. She has also signed a joint venture with Zephyr Co. to create the Japan Cambodia Development Corporation, which will establish another SEZ close to Phnom Penh. To attract investment, these zones offer various privileges to both local and foreign businesses including a nine-year tax holiday, exemptions on VAT and import and export duties. She is a vice president in the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, has very strong connections to other prominent government and business officials in the country. One of her strongest connections is to Choeung Sopheap (Yeay Phu), co-owner of Pheapimex Co. Lim Chhiv Ho is a Cambodian Red Cross board member and fundraiser.
10. Pung Kheav Se
Pung Kheav Se is one of the most well-known bankers in Cambodia. He fled Cambodia in the late 1970s to Montreal, Canada, where he made a fortune buying gold from the central bank and reselling it at a profit. As the founder of Canadia Bank, the largest bank in the country, he holds one-fourth of the nation’s bank deposits. He is the owner of the Independence Beach Resort Hotel in Sihanoukville as well as the new upscale Sorya Shopping Center in Phnom Penh. He is also currently the chairman of Cambodia’s Foreign Trade Bank and the Association of Banks in Cambodia, an advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen, and an advisory member of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce.