Students Call For Official To Resign

A students’ group is demanding that the country’s top border official resign in the wake of last month’s allegations by the co-Interior ministers that Thailand and Vietnam have seized Cambo­dian territory.

The Students’ Movement for Democracy, in a letter addressed Tuesday to Var Kim Hong, border disputes commission chief for the Council of Ministers, ac­cused him of working against the country’s interests by denying re­ports of encroachment.

“For the life of the nation, we hope that that you will [conscientiously] step down from this very important position, or we will de­mand that you must step down despite whatever we might lose,” the letter states.

Var Kim Hong, who said Tues­day that he had just returned from an overseas trip, said he was un­aware of the letter but refuted the most recent allegations of border encroachment.

Meanwhile, the president of the student activist group, Saro Sivutha, criticized what he called the border affairs director’s “continuous” denials.

“Var Kim Hong always denies there is border encroachment,” Saro Sivutha said. “In this sense, he wants to destroy the will of the Cambodian people to protect their territory….I think he does not love his country—or serve his country.” He added the Stu­dents’ Movement for Democ­racy also plans to write Prime Mini­ster Hun Sen requesting Var Kim Hong’s removal from office.

In July, the group was blocked twice by police in attempts to march on the Vietnamese Em­bas­sy to protest alleged border encroachment.

Sentiment over border issues flared once again last week, when it emerged that two letters alleging border encroachment by Thailand and Vietnam were sent by co-Interior Ministers Sar Kheng and You Hockry to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Thai and Vietnamese embassies both denied their countries have moved border markers or otherwise encroach­ed into Cambodian territory.

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