Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kheng warns brass on coast

Kheng warns brass on coast

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Interior Minister Sar Kheng presents a certificate to new Preah Sihanouk Provincial Governor Yun Min during a handover ceremony yesterday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Kheng warns brass on coast

Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday put officials in Preah Sihanouk on notice about illegal fishing off the coast, accusing the province’s power brokers of turning a blind eye.

Speaking during a transfer-of-power ceremony for outgoing governor Chhit Sokhon and his replacement, Yun Min, Kheng issued a stern warning to soldiers, police, fishery officials and provincial authorities who pocket cash while allowing “illegal immigrants” to fish in Cambodian waters.

“I know the cases – [they] give permission to illegal immigrants to fish, and they want me to solve the problem,” he said. “I will not solve it. So that means that you are committing the crime. You do not consider protecting [our] security at sea, but you protect traders.”

Kheng promised to install an observation team to monitor the maritime border police amid reports of corrupt officials allowing illegal fishing.

“I encourage the good part [of the work], but the bad part – you have to take responsibility; it doesn’t mean that working on ocean issues [permits you] to pocket money for a living and become rich,” he said. “Protect the sea for the nation and people, not for your own benefit. I want to be clear on this.”

Bun Narith, provincial coordinator for local rights group Licadho, said corruption on Cambodia’s oceans is a major issue facing the country’s coast, particularly in Preah Sihanouk.

“We see authorities allow Vietnamese and Thai [nationals] to fish in Cambodian waters, which is illegal,” he said. “Sometimes, they allow goods transported via the sea without [levying] taxes for the government.

This damages national benefits and only [benefits] their individual interests or their group.”

Kheng also used the speech to call for increased safeguards on security and public order, both in Sihanoukville and the capital, noting that fighting between “Russians” in the past had instilled fear in locals while authorities turned a blind eye.

He explicitly mentioned Russian tycoon Sergei Polonsky, who was arrested and deported in May over an expired visa, but who lived freely in Cambodia prior to his ousting.

“I don’t mean to speak only about authorities here [in Preah Sihanouk province], but also authorities in Phnom Penh, [must] protect,” he said.

Kheng noted, though, that crime in the province has seen a reduction after Chuon Narin had been named provincial police chief in May.

Kol Phally, deputy provincial police chief, yesterday confirmed a dip in crime in the province.

“There is no more fighting between Russians, or other nationalities,” he said. “Robbery, especially, has reduced a lot,” he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National