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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SRP to document incursions

SRP to document incursions

THE opposition Sam Rainsy Party says it is compiling a report documenting a series of Vietnamese territorial encroachments into Kampong Cham province, following the visit of party officials to a sensitive border area in Memot district last week.

SRP parliamentarian Son Chhay, who led the delegation to the border, said yesterday that 14 Khmer villages have been annexed by Vietnam.

He said a report of the situation in Memot – including maps showing the encroachments – was being prepared and would be sent to King Father Norodom Sihanouk, King Norodom Sihamoni, the National Assembly and other government officials late this week or early next.

The report will also detail the SRP’s claims that Vietnamese soldiers entered Cambodia to prevent lawmakers’ access to a newly-planted border marker in Roung commune.

“[The government] has said that we were standing on Vietnamese land while we were facing each other. We cannot accept this allegation because the spot we were standing on did not reach up to the border demarcation post,” Son Chhay said.

He said the report had been prepared using GPS technology and was based on local villagers’ claims they have loss of land to Vietnam.

During its visit to the border on December 14, the party claims, around a dozen Vietnamese soldiers were deployed inside Cambodian territory to block 18 SRP parliamentarians from reaching border demarcation post 103.

Var Kimhong, senior minister in charge of border affairs, again dismissed the SRP’s accusation, saying that the area where the confrontation took place had not been demarcated properly and therefore could not be said to belong to either country.

SRP officials could also face legal action in relation to their upcoming report, he said, if it is found that they “falsified” maps of the border area.

“Even if they deliver [the report], we won’t care about it because we have explained it all already, it is still the same,” Var Kimhong said.

“In case you falsify maps, we will sue you to be imprisoned again and it is difficult to flee from the country,” he added, urging the party to “be careful”.

In September, SRP president Sam Rainsy was sentenced in absentia to 10 years prison on charges of disinformation and falsifying public documents. The charges followed the release in February of maps showing four border posts lying up to 500 metres inside Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district.

Sam Rainsy, currently living in self-exile abroad, has been sentenced to a total of 12 years prison in connection with his campaign to expose border incursions.

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