CNRP lawmaker Mao Monyvann on Wednesday said his delegation of opposition lawmakers and party supporters was once again thwarted in their efforts to visit a disputed border post along Cambodia’s contentious frontier with Vietnam, this time by Cambodian police.
Mr. Monyvann, who has been touring disputed parts of the border in Ratanakkiri province for the past few days, said his delegation Wednesday tried to reach border marker 23 in Andong Meas district, where local villagers have been complaining of having lost land to Vietnam.
But he said they were stopped by local police, who would not let them enter a village they needed to pass through to reach the marker.
“We were repeatedly stopped by local police who claimed that they could not let us pass through the village because the indigenous villagers were having a traditional festival during which outsiders are absolutely banned from entering,” he said.
Mr. Monyvann said he had called the villagers, however, who told him that they had no problem letting his group through.
According to rights group Adhoc, marker 23 brings the Vietnamese border 35 km into what locals consider to be Cambodian territory and was established by a 2005 supplemental border treaty between the two countries.
On Tuesday, Mr. Monyvann said, he and his delegation had tried to reach border marker 12 in the remote “Dragon’s Tail” region of Virachey National Park, an illegal logging hotspot.
Because the marker was not accessible by road from Cambodia, he said, they were planning to use a route that crossed through Vietnam. But he said Vietnamese soldiers posted at a border crossing refused them entry.
As for their attempt to reach marker 23 on Wednesday, provincial police chief Nguon Koeun denied that his officers made any attempt to stop the trip.
“No police stopped them. What I know is that the villagers were holding a festival, so the indigenous people cannot allow outsiders to pass through,” he said.
On Monday, Mr. Monyvann said Vietnamese soldiers temporarily blocked his delegation from reaching another disputed area along the border where Vietnamese nationals had allegedly planted cassava and dug ponds on Cambodian land.
The lawmaker said the farms and ponds were inside an undemarcated “white zone” that neither country should be developing.