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Activist set to overstay visa 30 days

Areng Valley dam activist Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, who is being ordered by the government to leave the country when his visa expires today, plans to stay in the Kingdom for 30 more days, a colleague said yesterday.

“Immigration law states that when the visa expires, [foreigners] can stay up to 30 days by paying $5 per day and then they can be coerced to leave the country through fines or other means,” said Dam Kundy, a staffer at Mother Nature, the NGO that Gonzalez-Davidson founded.

Gonzalez-Davidson could not be reached for comment yesterday, but the Khmer-speaking Spaniard has garnered considerable attention for leading a campaign against Koh Kong’s controversial Stung Cheay Areng hydropower dam project.

Under orders from Interior Minister Sar Kheng, immigration authorities were told last week to refrain from renewing Gonzalez-Davidson’s visa.

But Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Gonzalez-Davidson will face “fines, imprisonment or expulsion” if he fails to leave Cambodia on the expiration date.

“The ministry would take legal action against him in accordance with the Kingdom’s Immigration Law,” he said.

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