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Clock ticks for activist

Clock ticks for activist

Embattled environmental activist Alex Gonzalez-Davidson has been formally asked to leave the country by the Ministry of the Interior after his visa expired last week.

The anti-dam campaigner was told he would have to leave the country before the government could issue him with a new visa, a position Gonzalez-Davidson has said is merely a ploy to get him out of the country.

In a letter dated Friday, Brigadier General Keo Vanthan, deputy director of the ministry’s General Department of Immigration, urged Gonzalez-Davidson to leave the country.

“The General Department of Immigration urges [Gonzalez-Davidson] to carry out the terms of this notice,” the letter reads.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached yesterday, but earlier said that the Mother Nature founder would need to leave the country prior to being issued a new visa. “We will not expel him when his visa expires. But Alex has to fill out a form like all foreigners whose visas expire. He has to leave the country . . . but when he wants come back, he can apply for a short-term Cambodian visa,” he said.

But Gonzalez-Davidson has no intention of leaving – at least not of his own volition.

“If the 30-day overstay expires, the Ministry of Interior will issue a letter, asking me to leave within seven days. If I don’t want to leave within the seven days, I will be forced to leave Cambodia,” he said.

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