Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - City grants approval for Kem Ley’s 100-day ceremony

City grants approval for Kem Ley’s 100-day ceremony

Workers erect marquees yesterday afternoon at Wat Chas pagoda in preparation for an event to mark 100 days since Kem Ley’s death.
Workers erect marquees yesterday afternoon at Wat Chas pagoda in preparation for an event to mark 100 days since Kem Ley’s death. Pha Lina

City grants approval for Kem Ley’s 100-day ceremony

After a weeklong standoff between authorities and the organisers of a Friday-to-Sunday ceremony marking 100 days since the murder of outspoken political analyst Kem Ley, Phnom Penh City Hall yesterday granted permission for the event to go ahead.

The committee organising the ceremony initially asked to hold it in the centrally located Wat Botum park last week, but later asked to hold it at Wat Chas on the Chroy Changvar peninsula, where Ley’s wake and funeral were hosted after he was shot dead on July 10.

However, authorities on Friday also rejected that request, and the pagoda’s abbot told the committee he could not support a banned ceremony. Yesterday, a meeting between committee member But Buntenh and City Hall officials overturned that decision.

“The committee and City Hall agreed, and we can continue with the funeral at Wat Chas as usual and as planned,” said Buntenh, a dissident monk who heads the Independent Monk Network for Social justice and was a close friend of Ley.

Buntenh said Municipal Governor Pa Socheatvong personally approved the request after coming to “understand the aims of the funeral”. Deputy Governor Khuong Sreng had said on Sunday the ceremony might be an effort to cheat money from mourners.

City Hall spokesman Mean Chanyada said the ban had been overturned because the committee had better explained what it intended to do at Wat Chas, and proved it had permission from Ley’s family.

“If they wanted to hold a normal funeral, City Hall would never have denied them,” the spokesman said. “At first, the committee did not present themselves clearly . . . But now everything is clear, so we have allowed them to hold the funeral ceremony.”

A statue of Ley will be placed at Wat Chas over the three days of the ceremony, and on Sunday it will be marched to his home in Takeo province, with Buntenh saying the committee had agreed with City Hall to manage the procession in an orderly manner.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government denies claims former Thai PM Yingluck issued Cambodian passport

    Government officials on Thursday denied claims that a Cambodian passport was issued to former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who reportedly used it to register a company in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based English language South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday reported Hong Kong

  • US’ Cambodian ambassador appointment blocked

    The US Senate returned the nomination of Patrick Murphy as Ambassador to Cambodia back to US President Donald Trump on Thursday, as the American government shutdown entered its third week. The US Senate website announcement said it returned Murphy’s nomination as ambassador as his

  • ‘Indian’ tuk-tuk drivers take flak

    The drivers of “Indian” metered tuk-tuks are facing widespread criticism for failing to respect traffic laws and causing traffic jams and accidents. Nay Sitha, a resident of Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, spoke to The Post about the difficulties he faces, especially when travelling to

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as