A commune council chief in Kep province has apologised for dumping soil into the sea near a boat dock.
Kong Yorn, a member of the Angkorl commune council in Damnak Changaur district, described his actions as an unintentional mistake.
The apology was made after Kep provincial governor Som Piseth inspected the area on Friday and ordered that the area be restored to its original status.
The governor said Yorn was made to sign a letter promising to remove the soil and bear responsibility for all costs.
“We have advised him not to repeat such mistakes,” Piseth said.
Damnak Changaur district governor Kim Channy told The Post on Sunday Yorn had already excavated the soil.
Channy said the size of the landfill poured into the sea is 16m long.
“At first he asked to clear the rubbish from the sea’s edge and we allowed him to clean or pour sand to remove the rubbish that floats along the beach. But we received news that he filled in the soil so we went to check,” she said.
She said Yorn, who had been granted the rights to control and manage the port and collect fees from boats docking there, started filling in the soil on Thursday.
Yorn told The Post on Sunday that this mistake was due to his misunderstanding. He said he had asked to clean up the rubbish from the beach. After receiving permission from the provincial authorities, he decided to buy soil to dump on the beach, not knowing it violated the permit.
“I accept the mistake and I have dug out the soil. I just want to clean this beach, and I have no intention of harming the environment. I dumped 30 trucks of soil, but in order to excavate that soil, more than 40 trucks are still not yet finished because there is too much rubbish.”
Ub Sovanchanthorn, the provincial investigator for rights group Licadho in Kampot and Kep, said if the mistake was intentional, it would set a bad example.
“The fact is that he is the authority and he should understand. He should know not to pour soil into the sea. If the news did not break, other people could have followed his example by filling in the beach with soil. It’s a cause for concern,” he said.