Residents of Kompong Cham province’s Kroch Chhmar district have appealed to Prime Minister Hun Sen for the removal of two CPP officials, accusing them of involvement in illegal fishing.
Some 430 villagers from Chinith and Rokar Khnol communes have filed a petition for the removal of Suy Seng, a Kroch Chhmar district police chief, and Sles Math, chief of Chinith commune, said Yong Yean, the district’s deputy police chief.
Yong Yean said he seized several illegal fishing nets and three motorized boats from fishermen claiming to work for Sles Math on Oct 23. Suy Seng then ordered Chinith commune police to return the equipment to Sles Math, Yong Yean said.
Villagers, who have seen their fish stocks depleted over the years, were angered by the move.
“People in this area could not fish well. And some fish species have gone due to the use of illegal fishing nets from commune officials,” Yong Yean said.
Contacted Monday, Suy Sey conceded he had ordered officers to return the nets to the illegal fishermen, but said he had done so on the orders of his superiors.
“Whatever I have done, it was not my own decision,” he said, declining to name the official who gave the order.
Sles Math could not be reached for comment.
The petitions have been sent to the prime minister via his brother-in-law Kry Vatouch, and Mao Bunnarin, director of the Interior Ministry’s staffing department, to act on the issue, said Ngy Borath, a Rokar Khnol commune villager who helped launch the complaint.
As Kry Vatouch, a brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife, Bun Rany, is a native of Kroch Chhmar. Villagers believed he would be sympathetic to their cause, Ngy Borath said.
“We voted for the CPP for both commune and national elections, so Samdech Hun Sen should appoint other good officials for us,” he said Monday.