sihanoukville – First Deputy Governor Khim Bo, whose home was looted by protesters over the weekend, said Tuesday he had nothing to do with the shipment of 3,000 tons of suspected toxic waste here.
“I am innocent,” the CPP official declared at the site where the waste was dumped, about 15 km outside Sihanoukville.
Hundreds of protesters stoned government offices, trashed a hotel and ransacked Khim Bo’s home on Sunday, the second day of protests in the port town.
Khim Bo, whose Land Cruiser was torched and home gutted, said he has evidence to show he was not involved with the importing of the waste. He did not elaborate. He also said the demonstration was “not a real protest,” because it entailed looting and had no purpose.
Khim Bo said his lawyer plans to file a complaint against the protesters for compensation. The deputy governor would not say how much damage was done to his property.
Meanwhile, eight experts on chemical and hazardous waste from the Thai Army inspected the dump site and plan to take a sample back to Bangkok for testing.
They also used a Geiger counter, but found no signs of radiation.
The Thai experts were invited by Defense co-Minister Tea Banh and accompanied by RCAF Deputy Chief of Staff Pol Saroeun.
Ten RCAF soldiers then donned masks and boots and put waste in bags and barrels to demonstrate to reporters how they planned to remove the waste, beginning today.
The barrels will be welded shut before being stored in larger containers in Sihanoukville until the waste can be shipped back to Taiwan, officials said. The cleanup, which could take up to 10 days, will be done by 500 soldiers.