PM Removes Governor, Deputies Over Kob Srov Case

Prime Minister Hun Sen has removed Kandal provincial governor Khim Bo along with two of his deputies for their involvement in the filling of Kob Srov lake by a private company, Minister of Water Resources and Meteoro­logy Lim Kean Hor said Sunday.

“They were removed…as they are involved with other problems as well as the issue with Kob Srov lake,” Lim Kean Hor said.

Chhun Sirun, a deputy governor of Phnom Penh, is to replace Khim Bo as governor of Kandal, Lim Kean Hor said. The pro­vince’s deputy governors He Kann and Cheng Nhanh have also been removed, he said.

Khim Bo could not be contacted for comment Sunday. He Kann said Sunday that he had only just heard about his removal.

“I heard about the replacements but I don’t know who [is to be replaced]. Ask the person who ordered it,” He Kann said.

Khim Bo, He Kann and Cheng Nhanh are all members of Hun Sen’s ruling CPP.

Khim Bo’s replacement, Chhun Sirun, said he too had only just learned of his promotion.

“I was informed by telephone today [Sunday] to attend a ceremony Monday to be sworn in as Kandal province’s governor,” Chhun Sirun said. “I am happy to do any work ordered by the government,” he added.

Lim Kean Hor also said Sunday that Long Chhin resorts, the company that was filling in a section of Kob Srov to build houses, has been given a deadline of Monday to begin destroying 18 villas and a number of apartments on its already filled-in land.

“All buildings must be re­mov­ed and then all the earth that has been filled in at the lake must be removed and [the lake] left as before,” Lim Kean Hor said.

The demolition notice was given to the company Saturday evening, he said.

“First we allow the company to do this by itself. If it does not follow the order, we will do it ourselves,” he added. “This is a lesson to other people not to [be­have] like this.”

A representative of the Chi­nese-owned Long Chhin Resort said earlier this month that it was filling in a 1 kilometer-long, 60 meter wide, section of the lake after receiving permission from Hun Sen. Kandal provincial officials also said the company had received all the proper permission to being work.

The 2001 Land Law states that lakes are state public property and cannot be sold.

Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kan­harith said Long Chhin Resorts must remove any land they filled in on the lake because they had violated their approval received from the Council for Develop­ment of Cambodia.

“The approval stated clearly that the Kob Srov lake must not be filled,” he added.

A worker at Long Chhin Re­sorts who asked to remain anonymous confirmed on Sunday that the company had received notice that the earth had to be removed from the lake.

She said her bosses were negotiating for a compromise with the relevant officials and declined further comment.

SRP leader Sam Rainsy said the “mess” surrounding the filling in of Kob Srov was due to “out of control” corruption.

Sam Rainsy also said that the Kob Srov scandal might serve as a warning to companies who feel that they can do as they like in Cambodia without respecting the law.

“Just because [a businessman] knows some powerful people. What has happened here shows them that such permission can be reversed at any time,” Sam Rainsy said.

“Those [provincial officials] sanctioned are just scapegoats. Those who have the most re­sponsibility for this situation are at the top,” he added.


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