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Takeo border visit blocked

POLICE in Takeo province on Sunday prevented about 10 members of the Cambodia Watchdog Council from visiting border posts that villagers say have been planted on their farmland, a representative of the group said.

Rong Chhun said the group had been told by Chey Chauk commune police that they needed permission from the government to visit the site.
“None of my members were allowed to see the location where they planted the poles,” he said.

“The police said they had been ordered by high-ranking officials to do this,” Rong Chhun added.

On June 3, 20 Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers and around 100 supporters attempted to visit the same posts, but were confronted in Chey Chauk commune by around 30 provincial and military police and about 50 local residents who prevented them from going farther.

The two sides exchanged words heatedly before the SRP delegation turned back.

Rong Chhun said Sunday that “five or six” commune police had confronted the CWC group, and that he had peacefully accepted their decision not to allow them to see the posts.

“We wanted to see the real situation, and we were sorry that we could not reach the place,” he said.

Tuon Vanhorm, the chief of Chey Chauk commune, said officials there could not allow the group to visit the site without permission “from the government”.

“They entered our territory without informing us, and without any official confirmation from the government at all,” he said.

Takeo provincial Governor Srey Ben said earlier this month that the posts in question were only temporary markers.

Var Kimhong, senior minister in charge of border affairs, said last week that Cambodian and Vietnamese officials met in Phnom Penh to endorse a plan that will see 185 more border posts put in place by 2012, bringing the total to 375.

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