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

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At