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Opposition Accused of Border Post Destruction

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party will face yet another lawsuit, for the destruction of boundary demarcations on the Vietnam border.

Authorities of Chan Trea district, Svay Rieng province, say party leader Sam Rainsy colluded with local villagers to rip border markings out of the ground last week, officials said Monday.

The suit would bring to three the number of cases against the opposition in recent months, including Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation suit against lawmaker Mu Sochua, and a similar suit brought by 22 military officials against lawmaker Ho Vann.

The lawsuit stems from an Oct. 25 Katina ceremony, led by Sam Rainsy, in Samrong commune, Chantrea district. At the end of the ceremony, villagers showed gathered officials six boundary posts reportedly planted in their own rice fields, indicating incursion, officials said.

Sam Rainsy then said the markers should be removed, after which villagers pulled them up.

“The complaint has been filed for destruction of public property,” said the party’s Svay Rieng provincial deputy chief, Meas Kheng.

District Governor Chea Yieng confirmed a complaint had been filed but declined to give details, saying only it had to do with boundary markers and not the Katina ceremony.

Cambodia and Vietnam agreed in 2005 to finalized border demarcation, in a bid to end decades of disputes on a nationally sensitive topic. However, border activists have continued to protest the alleged incursion by Vietnamese into Cambodian territory.

“If there is a complaint, it would be another concern, after Mu Sochua and Ho Vann,” said Am Sam Ath, an investigator for the rights group Licadho.

Judge Korm Chhean, president of Svay Rieng’s court, said he had not yet seen a complaint.