The owner of a fishing lot in Kampong Cham province, whose bid for his lot was cancelled more than a week ago, has been attempting to keep villagers from fishing the area he previously laid claim to by destroying their equipment and sinking their boats.
On November 25, Prime Minister Hun Sen cancelled the results of the bidding processes for seven fishing lots in Kampong Cham, Prey Veng and Takeo provinces.
He cited allegations of bribery and corruption among officials in the bidding process and said the lots would remain vacant until next year, when the Anti-Corruption Unit would oversee all bidding.
Nguon Kimly, a villager from Kampong Cham province’s Prey Chhor district, claimed Chuon Huth, the owner of fishing lot Number Two, had destroyed the equipment of villagers who began fishing the lots after Hun Sen announced the cancellation of the results of the bidding process.
“Three days after Samdech Hun Sen announced the closure of the fishing lots, the villagers went there to fish. The lot owner destroyed the villagers’ fishing tools because he claimed his fishing lot was still legal,” Nguon Kimly said.
Chhouern Chhin, a councillor for Prey Chhor district’s Mien commune, acknowledged that Chuon Huth was preventing villagers from fishing, but said authorities were not taking any action.
“The fishing-lot owner destroyed fishing nets and sank villagers’ boats, but the authorities have not yet done anything because they just heard it [cancellation of bids] from Hun Sen’s speech and have not yet seen any official letter,’’ Chhouern Chhin said.
“So authorities have not yet dared to do anything.”