Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Nhem En Village’ planned




‘Nhem En Village’ planned

‘Nhem En Village’ planned

l

A former photographer at the Khmer Rouge regime’s most notorious detention facility said yesterday that he planned to found a village in his name near a museum in Oddar Meanchey province built to house his collection of Democratic Kampuchea memorabilia.

Nhem En, who during the regime took mugshots of inmates being processed at Phnom Penh’s Tuol Sleng prison, said the village – to be named “Nhem En Village” – would accommodate 200 families on about 20 hectares of a 50-hectare plot on which the museum is also being constructed.

Work on the 7-by-25-metre museum building began in July, and Nhem En said yesterday that he expected it to open in January 2011.

He added that, if all of his plans come to fruition, the 50 hectares – located in Anlong Veng district, which remained a Khmer Rouge stronghold until 1998 – would soon see a second museum devoted to the Khmer Rouge as well as a football pitch and stadium and a market.

As for attracting full-time residents, he said, “I’ll offer land plots that are 10-by-25 metres, and it will cost the families between US$100 and $150. Villagers can build homes and sell souvenirs to tourists.”

His plans could soon run into opposition from local officials, however.

Oddar Meanchey provincial governor Pich Sokhin said the village did not have approval from his office. “We do not allow [him] to set up the village because [Nhem En] did not submit any letter to the provincial authority,” he said.

Sak Setha, secretary of state at the Interior Ministry, said anyone looking to found a new village would need to provide a list of 100 people willing to live there, and also to obtain permission from officials at the commune, district, provincial and central government levels.

“[Nhem En] must abide by the law,” Sak Setha said. “A village is built based on commune administration control.”

But Nhem En, who is the deputy governor of Anlong Veng district, said his position entitled him to push ahead without completing the steps enumerated by Sak Setha.

“Whatever Nhem En says he will do he must do because Nhem En does it for the citizens,” Nhem En said. “It’s not necessary for me to ask permission at the province level because I am a member of Anlong Veng district authority. I have a right to establish a village.
It will not impact other villagers or the government’s land.”
He has previously said he earned the money for the purchase of the land from his rice fields.

In April 2009, Nhem En made a splash when he announced plans to sell what he said were Pol Pot’s shoes and some of the cameras he used at Tuol Sleng for $500,000. After no buyers emerged, he said in May that he would sell all of his Khmer Rouge memorabilia for $1 million. That, too, was unsuccessful. These items are now set to be exhibited in the Anlong Veng museum.

The Council of Ministers in March approved a draft of a sub-decree allowing for tourism development in Anlong Veng.

MOST VIEWED

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • Vietnamese land-grabbers held

    Following a provincial court order, Ratanakkiri Military Police on April 16 arrested 12 Vietnamese nationals accused of crossing the border into Cambodia and illegally clearing forest land. The accused are now being detained at Phnom Svay prison in the province. Ratanakkiri military police commander Thav Yen told

  • Eight people sent to court over violent protest

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities on Sunday sent eight people to court for blocking National Road 4 and using violence against authorities in a land dispute in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune. Four police officers and two commune security guards sustained injuries when the protesters