Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Detained activist says Don Sahong work surging

Detained activist says Don Sahong work surging

Twin environmental activists Chum Huor (left) and Chum Huot (right) pose for a photo at Radio Free Asia last year. RFA
Twin environmental activists Chum Huor (left) and Chum Huot (right) pose for a photo at Radio Free Asia last year. RFA

Detained activist says Don Sahong work surging

Construction at the controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam is rapidly moving ahead, according to environmental activist Chum Huot, who was briefly detained on Sunday with his 26-year-old twin brother, Chum Huor, by Laotian authorities.

“Laos has already blocked the water,” Huot said, adding that “villagers living there have already been displaced; their houses have been moved away and the dam emerged”.

Saying he saw evidence of dynamiting, Huot said the ecological impact is already clear.

“I used to see dolphins swimming, but this time, I did not see any of them,” he said, referring to the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin, which dam opponents say will be severely threatened by the dam.

Opposition to the dam, both among activists and governments, has been high, with those who oppose the project arguing that it will greatly deplete downstream fish stocks, a staple food source in Cambodia.

Huot and his brother were detained on Sunday while attempting to photograph the dam’s construction. Describing the incident, Huot said he, his brother, activist Se Seamdy and a boatman arrived at Don Sahong at about 10am, and were approached by Lao authorities.

“They asked us ‘why do you come here?’ Then they took the camera to check and told us that we went into their territory illegally. I was so nervous,” Huot said, adding that he never got the camera and phone back.

Released after an hour of questioning, Huot said “Laotian authorities told us that if we return, there will be a problem”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to