Phnom Penh District Governors Officially Appointed

Chroy Changva district governor Klaing Huot, who was one of six Phnom Penh district governors to take up a post Monday, vowed to tackle rampant sand-dredging in the Mekong River during his appointing ceremony.

Mr. Huot, who moved from his post as Russei Keo district governor to take over the newly created district, ordered an overhaul of dredging that has seen the collapse of riverbanks and homes in recent years.

“I will arrange two speedboats [for officials] to go control sand dredging. After that they have to meet with us within three days [and if they refuse to stop], we will go down to arrest them,” he said, speaking at a ceremony held at Boeng Meas Restaurant.

Mr. Huot said he had already ordered his deputy governor and chief of administration to send a letter to illegal dredgers.

The city issued a ban on dredging last year and says it has since seized numerous illegal dredging boats. The proliferation of unlicensed dredging boats had led to a number of riverbank collapses that resulted in destroyed homes, though the city has blamed erosion.

Mr. Huot also urged a group of Vietnamese and Khmer fishermen who had recently decamped from Russei Keo district to return home.

“We do not allow [them] to move their houses on the river because it causes chaos,” he said. “It is strange—why are they moving now?…. Why do they love me like this? I don’t need [them to follow me].”

Six district governors were appointed in Phnom Penh on Monday and another six are set to receive appointments today, said City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche.

Like Mr. Huot, most have simply been reshuffled from other districts.

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