Vietnamese monks evicted from Cambodia island, shrines burned

Vietnamese monks evicted from Cambodia island, shrines burned

PHNOM PENH — Cambodian authorities evicted 10 Vietnamese from a navy-controlled island off Koh Kong province and destroyed their illegally-built shrines, media reports said.

A team of at least 60 government officials, soldiers, police and military police were investigating reports of an illegally-built shrine on the island, Koh Kong provincial governor Bun Leut told The Cambodia Daily newspaper.

Provincial police chief Sam Khit Vean said authorities on Wednesday burned down an illegal shrine, a statue of a goddess spirit and several shelters the monks had been living in, the paper reported.

The 10 Vietnamese citizens, seven of whom are monks, have documentation allowing them to live in Cambodia, but this does not give them permission to trespass on navy land or to build, Sam Khit Vean told the Phnom Penh Post.

The Vietnamese will not be allowed to travel to the island again, he said, according to the Post.

Provincial authorities left the island following the crackdown, but navy personnel stayed behind and the area will now be under the control of the navy only, Sam Khit Vean told The Cambodia Daily.

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