Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers cry bias over loss of reservoirs

Villagers cry bias over loss of reservoirs

Villagers cry bias over loss of reservoirs

VILLAGERS in Kampong Thom province’s Baray district have decried the recent demolition of a series of manmade reservoirs as unfair, saying local Fisheries Department officials have exhibited bias in favour of wealthy businessmen while attempting to extort money from them.

Late last month, officials said they had demolished 16 manmade reservoirs surrounding the Tonle Sap lake, citing threats to the environment and fish habitats.

But Vann Rith, a representative of Kiri Andet village in Treal commune, said a 600-by-700-metre reservoir there that was not among the 16 slated for demolition had also been dismanted.

He said a provincial Fisheries Department official, Chhin Sitha, forced the villagers to pay US$240 to fill in the empty reservoir.

“We wonder why those officials chose to demolish the villagers’ reservoir, but didn’t destroy nearby reservoirs belonging to businessmen,” he said, and added that the villagers needed the reservoir to store water for rice farming during the dry season.

He said Chhin Sitha had threatened to have the villagers arrested if they tried to stop the demolition.

Chhea La, another village representative, said Chhin Sitha had told residents of the village that they could keep their reservoir if they were willing to pay him a $2,000 bribe, which they refused to do.

Chhun Chhorn, the provincial governor, said Wednesday that he was aware that officials had forced villagers in Kiri Andet village and elsewhere to finance the filling in of demolished reservoirs.

“I sent a warning letter earlier this month to those officials telling them to stop asking for money from villagers ... but they do not listen to me because I don’t have the authority to order them around and I don’t have evidence,” he said.

Chhin Sitha could not be reached for comment Wednesday, and Nao Thouk, director of the Fisheries Administration, declined to comment.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which