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Hex put on Kep Chuktema

Land activists from Boeung Kak lake community
Land activists from Boeung Kak lake community prepare for a cursing ceremony, targeting former Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema, in Phnom Penh yesterday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Hex put on Kep Chuktema

About 30 former residents of the Boeung Kak Lake community yesterday gathered near the National Assembly to put a curse on former Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema over claims that he caused them to lose their lands.

During the event, people set up funeral banners and pictures showing the destruction of their former homes, as well as demolished houses from Borei Keila – another displaced community in the capital. Participants also stuck photos of Chuktema next to infamous war criminal Kaing Guek Eav, the Khmer Rouge-era operator of the Tuol Sleng detention centre populary known as “Duch”.

Sear Naret, 56, a representative of the displaced residents, said they wished to put a hex on Chuktema, now a member of parliament with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, so he would die a slow death for his role in filling the lake.

“We curse Kep Chuktema and other corrupt officials with death, caused by their ambition and the corruption they have committed,” he said. “The gods will punish them with hardship and destruction, especially Kep Chuktema; [they will] be fired from their current positions soon.”

Chum Ngarn, a representative of the Borei Keila community, said thousands of families in the capital lost their land due to the irresponsibility of the city’s leadership. “During [Kep Chuktema’s] time, poor community members were evicted, arrested, charged and sent to jail because of protests to protect their lands,” she said.

Afterward, participants gathered in front of the Assembly to ask for information about a petition they had filed to demand intervention. Lawmaker Lork Kheng called for patience.

Chuktema could not be reached yesterday.

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