Say Hak Must Donate House or Be Haunted: PM

Preah Sihanouk authorities will not allow former provincial governor Say Hak to sell his house on top of the highest hill in Sihanouk­ville town, saying the former governor’s abode must be converted to a pagoda.

Current provincial governor Sboang Sarath said Thursday that the order to prevent the sale of the house followed a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday during which the premier called on Say Hak to donate his house to Buddhist monks, otherwise his life would be in jeopardy from malevolent spirits.

“I did not [give permission] for Say Hak to build his house on top of that mountain,” Hun Sen said in a speech Tuesday. “I was very surprised to see the house. I could not find any good words to say about it,” he said, adding that he removed Say Hak from his position after he found out the former governor had held a week-long house-warming party at his new hill-top home.

“[The house] is on a ghost road,” Hun Sen said. “The site should be a place to build a pagoda or a military base for a defense satellite to defend the sea border. He cannot live there peacefully,” he said.

Say Hak refused to comment on the prime minister’s supernatural predictions when contacted Thursday.

Chiep Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said Thursday that Say Hak still legally owns the house since the provincial authorities had allowed him to build there in the first place.

“If he has a legal right to build the house, no one can take the it from him,” Chiep Sotheary said.

“But in Cambodia, sometimes the prime minister’s word mean more than the law,” he added.


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