SRP Requests Probe Into Vandalism of Pagoda

In a letter sent to Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Monday, the Sam Rainsy Party requested that police investigate who destroyed the foundations of a wall at a pagoda in Kompong Cham province on the Vietnamese border.

SRP lawmaker Mao Monyvann said Monday that the chief monk of Kirimeanchey pagoda in Me­mot district’s Choam commune asked the opposition party to build a wall to replace a wooden fence around the religious compound, which straddles the border with Vietnam.

When Sam Rainsy was laying the foundations for the wall Satur­day, after raising $6,250 for the construction work during a Katin ceremony, Vietnamese police and local authorities had asked him to stop, Mao Monyvann said.

At about 9 pm that evening, Mao Monyvann said, three unidentified people destroyed the newly laid foundation.

“We suspect that the Vietnamese destroyed the [work],” he said.

Memot District Governor Choek Sa An said Tuesday that the construction work should not have been carried out as the area is undemarcated border territory that is still in dispute between Cambodia and Vietnam.

“I have asked the monks and laymen to stop the construction and wait until [border] demarcation,” Choek Sa An said, adding that Viet­namese border police were not re­sponsible for the damage to the foundation.

“No one destroyed the foundations,” he said. “The monks re­moved it themselves.”

Choek Sa An added that during the groundbreaking ceremony, Sam Rainsy had claimed that Viet­nam would invade Cambodian soil if the SRP did not install a wall around the pagoda.

Ministry of Interior spokes­man Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment.

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