Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kheng addresses illegal fishing before elections



Kheng addresses illegal fishing before elections

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Interior Minister Sar Kheng chairs a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh regarding an ongoing nationwide illegal fishing crackdown, Photo Supplied

Kheng addresses illegal fishing before elections

Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday called on authorities to ramp up a crackdown on illegal fishing ahead of upcoming commune elections, prompting one fisheries activist to question whether the action would continue after it ceased to be politically expedient.

In his remarks, given at a meeting at the Ministry of Interior, Kheng appeared to link success in the nationwide campaign to victory for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party at the ballot box in June.

“If the situation to handle fishing crimes is not good, more or less, it will impact the election; therefore we need to have a mission to handle the problem,” Kheng said.

“From today until the election period, there are only 47 days . . . therefore [we] we need to rally” to solve the problem, he added.

Also speaking at yesterday’s meeting, National Police chief Neth Savoeun said that he was not satisfied with the uneven results of the crackdown, which started in December. While some areas around the Tonle Sap showed decreases in illegal fishing, he said, the problem had persisted or increased in others.

Savoeun argued that the push would not prove successful until the “masterminds” behind illegal fishing in the Tonle Sap are brought to justice. Meanwhile, officials who are “involved with [the] perpetrators, they will be punished in compliance with the law”, he added.

Between December 8 and April 17, more than 700 raids were undertaken against illegal fishermen, though only 30 were sent to court, according to statistics presented at yesterday’s meeting.

Youk Senglong, the deputy executive director of Fisheries Action Coalition Team, said that anecdotal evidence suggested the crackdown was having a positive effect, but questioned whether the Interior Ministry’s commitment will carry on after the commune elections. However, he added, it was “better to wait until after the election to see” if the crackdown continues apace.

The small number of prosecutions, on the other hand, could prove a political liability, Senglong said.

“There is a connection with popularity. [Authorities think] if they send many people to court, they might mobilise many people not to vote for the CPP,” he said. However, he said, rather than an aggressive stance, it would be the lack of concrete action that hurt the ruling party in the eyes of the law-abiding public.

“The majority of the public don’t commit crimes,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Jab drive announced for two more Phnom Penh districts

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration on May 15 announced a first-dose novel-coronavirus vaccination campaign for Boeung Keng Kang and Sen Sok districts from May 18-31, and a follow-up second-shot drive from June 1-15. Twenty vaccination sites have been set up in a combined 13 communes across both