CPP Senator Ly Kim Han, the longtime chief of Cambodia’s fisheries until he clashed publicly with Prime Minister Hun Sen, died Tuesday at Calmette Hospital after suffering a stroke at home, officials said. He was 58.
Ly Kim Han had served in the Senate for less than eight months, but Senate Secretary-General Oum Sarith said his colleague will be missed.
“We are very sorry for his death because we lost a great human resource,” he said.
Ly Kim Han was appointed to the Senate in March to replace CPP member Sin Song, who died of cancer. No successor has been picked yet, Oum Sarith said.
Ly Kim Han formerly ran the Fisheries Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and it was he who compiled and wrote most of the laws still on the books, said Nao Thuok, his former deputy and the current Fisheries director.
In October 2000, Hun Sen ordered fisheries officials to take thousands of hectares of fishing lots in Siem Reap province from private owners and open them for public use.
Since 1989, the government has auctioned fishing rights in certain areas of the Tonle Sap lake and other sites to commercial fisherman.
Lot owners were supposed to allow villagers to fish in designated areas within the lots. Subsistence fishermen had complained they were barred from many lots, sometimes by armed men, which prompted Hun Sen to issue the new directive.
Ly Kim Han said he agreed with the principle behind Hun Sen’s order, but the existing law prevented him from handing over many of the disputed lots to the public. Within days, Hun Sen fired him.
Dozens of government officials, including members of the National Assembly and the Senate, already have gone to Ly Kim Han’s Phnom Penh home to pay their respects.
His funeral procession and burial in Wat Champoh Ka’ek in Kandal province is scheduled for Friday, authorities said.