The Siem Riep provincial governor yesterday dispelled rumours that a raid was going to be conducted to evict some vendors from the Phalla Angkor Night Market in order to open a gateway blocking a main road.
Khim Bunsong, the provincial governor, said that he met market vendors in Seim Reap city on Sunday evening to assure them that they will not be evicted.
“The opening of this gate is to create a road network in order to facilitate traffic during congestion,” Mr Bunsong said in a Facebook post yesterday. “It’s also for emergencies.”
Mr Bunsong issued the Facebook post following allegations made by Pheng Vannak, a former police officer who said that Mr Bunsong will evict night market vendors in order to open the gateway. The allegation prompted fear of removal among vendors.
Mr Bunsong could not be reached for comment yesterday, but his office on Thursday issued a statement clarifying that the road was blocked by a gate erected by Chea Sophal in 1992 to secure his private property.
The statement added that Mr Sophal transferred his property to Chap Chamroeun in 2003, who again transferred it to Pil Holy that same year.
The statement said residents living in the area recently filed a complaint to Provincial Hall, asking for the gateway to be opened. It added that an agreement has been reached with Mr Holy.
Mr Vannak, the former police officer and a well-known Facebook user, also visited the market and broadcast a live video on his page, in which he claimed military police officer Khieu Sarith tried to arrest him.
However, Mr Sarith later released a video of his own, denying that he tried to arrest Mr Vannak and clarifying that he is only a vendor.
“ I am not a soldier. I am just a normal vendor,” he said. “I saw him during the live broadcast and I wanted to meet him to ask him for more information, not arrest him; I have no right to do that.”