Forty-eight displaced Vietnamese families are temporarily camped out in a Dangkao district cemetery, awaiting permission to move to land in Kandal province.
The families have said that they want to move to land they purchased in Sa’ang district, but they must wait for approval by the Ministry of Interior, according to Mak Sam Oeun, third governor of Kandal province.
“The province stopped them [moving there] because the province knows that they are illegal immigrants and do not have a right to hold land,” Mak Sam Oeun said Tuesday. He said Kandal authorities sent a letter to the Interior Ministry Monday, requesting a decision.
The Interior Ministry sent a letter to Phnom Penh officials Tuesday, requesting they meet with Kandal officials to compare notes about the families, according to a ministry official who requested his name not be used. The Interior Ministry will render a decision after those discussions, the official said.
More than 100 Vietnamese families living at Wat Chak Angre Leu in Phnom Penh were compelled by court order to leave the pagoda in late April. Before their eviction, tensions between the Vietnamese and monks at the pagoda had erupted into at least two fights.
Many of the displaced Vietnamese families have found homes, but the Dangkao group has been living in the cemetery since May 5 awaiting a decision on their next move.
Dankgao Governor Krouch Phan said Tuesday that he would only let them stay “temporarily.”
“They can stay about two or three weeks until the problem in Kandal province is solved,” Krouch Phan said. “We will not expel them, but we will not let them reside there.”
Even with permission to move to Kandal, there is no indication the families will be welcomed.
“I heard that villagers there [in Sa’ang] do not support those Vietnamese people living there,” said Kandal Police Chief Ek Kreth.