Border Chief Denies VN Encroachment, Warns Villagers

The government’s border committee chief yesterday denied claims that a large number of families would lose land because of the placement of a temporary border marker on the Cambodian-Vietnamese border in Kompong Cham province’s Memot district.

Border committee chair Var Kimhong also warned that legal action was possible if a letter sent to him by 222 affected villagers contained either false names or false thumbprints.

The letter concerns border post 109 in Memot district’s Dar commune, which union leader Rong Chhun and other rights activists say they plan to visit on Nov 24 to investigate the claims of border encroachment.

Mao Monyvann, an SRP lawmaker from Kompong Cham, confirmed yesterday that the villagers sent a letter to the border committee on Oct 27 and that he received a copy of it personally on Oct 30.

“Villagers complained that border pole [109]…is making them lose their farms,” Mr Monyvann said.

Mr Kimhong, however, said he had not received the letter yet and that the SRP had inflated the number of people who were affected by the planting of the border post. He said that the border post in question only affected a total of 5 square meters.

“They said more than 200 villagers will be affected. It is not true,” Mr Kimhong said. “If the complaint arrives without the proper names or thumbprints from the villagers, there will be a problem. It means faking a document and inciting, so we will let the law work.”

In a separate border matter, a letter sent by Prime Minister Hun Sen to the National Assembly denied that Cambodian territory was lost because of the planting of border posts in Svay Rieng province.

Mr Hun Sen’s Nov 8 letter, a formal reply to SRP questions lodged at the Assembly on Oct 19, stated that the border demarcation process had not adversely affected Cambodian farmers living near the Vietnamese border.

The premier’s letter, which also addressed questions relating to villagers found guilty of uprooting border posts alongside SRP leader Sam Rainsy in October last year, was dismissed by the SRP yesterday as being unsatisfactory.

“Generally, we are not satisfied because the answers did not explain what [land] people lost,” said SRP acting spokesman Kimsour Phirith. “We will keep on questioning, because the border issues still occur.”


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