Son Chhay Calls for Investigation of S’ville Governor

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tues­day calling for an investigation and possible arrest of Sihanoukville Governor Say Hak for his involvement in a violent eviction last month.

Son Chhay also called for police and military police commanders in Sihanoukville to also be investigated for the forced eviction of hundreds of villagers in Mittapheap district on April 20.

“Please…investigate in order to arrest Governor Say Hak and his associates to be punished according to the law,” Son Chhay wrote in the letter. “I am strongly concerned…by the 150 armed policemen, military police, and soldiers, who destroyed over 100 houses, and mistreated and injured villagers,” he wrote.

Contacted by telephone, Say Hak said that he was not worried about Son Chhay’s appeal to Hun Sen or his accusations during the eviction, as he acted according to the law. “I am not worried—I welcome it,” Say Hak said.

Yin Bunnath, Sihanoukville dep­uty police chief in charge of general staff, said his officers acted within the law and questioned whether Son Chhay knew the details of the eviction. “Does he know all the facts?” he asked.

Sihanoukville Municipal Court issued a warrant for the eviction, Yin Bunnath said, and reiterated that the villagers started the violent melee with the police.

In his letter to Hun Sen, Son Chhay also called for the release of 13 men arrested during the eviction. He also accused the court’s chief prosecutor, Meas Sopheak, of misusing his power in issuing a warrant to search Village Number 6 for weapons and then using the warrant as a basis for a mass forced eviction.

Meas Sopheak said he was in a meeting and too busy to talk to reporters on Tuesday.

Khieu Kanharith, minister of information and government spokesman, said that Say Hak and his police did nothing illegal during the evictions. “I asked my staff and they said the governor warned the villagers many times,” he said.

(Additional reporting by James Welsh)


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