Saturday, August 10, 2019
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Aun Pheap


Waiting for the Flood

On the north bank of the Srepok River, trash fires make ashes of what the families have left behind. They had fled before the rising waters promised by the Lower Sesan II dam, which closed its first floodgate for testing on Saturday morning after three contentious years of construction. Plumes of thick white smoke drift through the trees into an overcast sky.

Government Rejects 11th-Hour Reprieve for Sesan Dam Families

An official in Stung Treng province said there was no way to grant a last-minute reprieve requested on Thursday by villagers whose homes could be flooded within days once testing of the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam begins on Saturday.

Government: Angkor Park Squatters Allowed in to Avoid Violence

The director of the government body that manages the Angkor Archaeological Park on Wednesday conceded that the hundreds of families they are now struggling to evict were allowed to move into the park illegally in the lead-up to the June 4 commune elections, though he defended the decision.

11 Mondolkiri Top Brass Fingered in Timber Probe

A court investigation into illegal timber trafficking has targeted 11 provincial officials—including Mondolkiri’s heads of the military and military police, and potentially a court prosecutor—prompting the case’s transfer to Phnom Penh at the request of the justice minister, officials said on Tuesday.

Government Prepares Plan for Sesan Dam Holdouts

Officials in Stung Treng province say they will have boats and trucks at the ready to evacuate a pair of villages where residents are refusing to heed warnings that their homes will flood when testing of the nearby Lower Sesan II hydropower dam begins on Saturday.

Siem Reap Police Chief Booted Over ‘Problem’

National Police Chief Neth Savoeun on Monday said the sudden transfer of Siem Reap’s provincial police chief from his post after only two months on the job was needed to improve policing in the province, but did not elaborate.

Officials Mum On Siem Reap Police Chief’s Transfer

The police chief of Siem Reap province has been transferred without explanation to a post at the Interior Ministry after about two months on the job.

NGO Finds Spike in New, Settled Land Disputes Last Year

The number of settled and newly reported land disputes more than doubled last year, according to a new report by the NGO Forum, which called the trend a sign the government was making a real—if politically calculated—push to deal with the issue.

Supreme Court Orders Eco-Activist’s Appeal to Be Reheard

Environmental activist Ven Vorn has been given a second chance to have an illegal logging conviction overturned after the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered his case sent back to the Appeal Court for review.

Court Summons Military Police Official Over Alleged Bribe

The Takeo Provincial Court has summoned a military police official over allegations that he demanded a bribe from timber smugglers to release them, weeks after the official’s boss claimed that an internal investigation had cleared him of wrongdoing.

Firm Accused of Indigenous Mondolkiri Land Grab

A land dispute in Mondolkiri province has pitted a Malaysian corporation against 128 ethnic Bunong families, a flare-up of a long-running disagreement over land the community claims is communal forest and the company insists was granted as an economic land concession (ELC).

Cache of Luxury-Grade Timber Seized in Kompong Thom Province

Authorities in Kompong Thom province on Saturday arrested three people transporting luxury-grade timber across the province without a license and seized more than a dozen cubic meters of wood at a local warehouse, though they say they still don’t know who it belongs to.

Removal of Stung Treng Bridge Delayed Again

Authorities have again delayed demolishing a bridge spanning the Srepok River in Stung Treng province after putting plans on hold on Sunday to consult with the Mines and Energy Ministry.

Protest Halts Demolition of Stung Treng Bridge–For Now

Some 150 protesters in Stung Treng province succeeded on Wednesday in stopping local authorities from demolishing a bridge spanning the Sre Pok river that would otherwise be flooded by the nearly completed Lower Sesan II hydropower dam, though the reprieve may be short lived.

Protest Halts Demolition of Stung Treng Bridge—for Now

About 150 protesters in Stung Treng province succeeded on Wednesday in stopping local authorities from demolishing a bridge spanning the Sre Pok river that would otherwise be flooded by the nearly completed Lower Sesan II hydropower dam, though the reprieve may be short-lived.

Defense Minister Supports Angkor Evictions

Authorities in Siem Reap province have stopped negotiating with hundreds of families who recently built homes and shops illegally inside the Angkor Archaeological Park, and Defense Minister Tea Banh said they would start razing the structures without their consent.

Timber-Trafficking Grandma Gets Two Years

Timber trafficker Heng Samneang received a two-year prison sentence for illegal logging from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday, although no mention was made of a second charge she faced for obstructing public officials.

Police Block Marchers Seeking Kampuchea Krom Holiday

Riot police were deployed near Phnom Penh’s Wat Chas on Monday to prevent about 30 people from marching to the National Assembly to submit a petition seeking a new national holiday marking the day the French officially handed former Kampuchea Krom provinces to Vietnam.

Apsara Authority Demolitions Backed by the UN

The government’s decision to remove more than 500 homes it claims were built illegally in the Angkor Archaeological Park was supported by the U.N. on Monday, a blow to homeowners who say the issue was ignored leading up to commune elections.

Planned Demolition Sparks Protest Along Road to Angkor Wat

Several hundred homeowners in Siem Reap province blocked the road between Angkor Wat and Siem Reap Airport for several hours on Friday to protest authorities’ removal of a home recently built inside the archaeological park.