PHNOM PENH —
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday sought to dampen international ridicule he received for betting of the boxing match Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
After the match, Hun Sen made an impassioned speech, in which he said he wouldn’t pay a $5,000 wager he’d made on Pacquiao, due to unfair judging.
His diatribe was lampooned by the US comedy show “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” a clip of which was widely circulated on Facebook.
“I can’t believe the American judges are that poor,” Hun Sen said in a post-match speech, translated on the program. “Really, very poor.”
He went on to say to an unknown person, “Hey, the $5,000 you won is not finalized yet. It is not yet settled, so I’m not going to pay yet. I’m not paying it because I need to find justice first.”
“It’s a little difficult to hear Hun Sen lecture anyone about fair play,” said Oliver, the host of the show, which has some 4 million viewers. “This is a man who Human Rights Watch says has repeatedly used political violence, repression and corruption to remain in power.”
In a televised speech at a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, Hun Sen said rolled back his earlier statement. He had only bet 5,000 riel—about $1.25. He said his unnamed betting partner would never even take the money, because they’d been wagering “for fun.”