Vietnamese border guards arrested and humiliated Khmer Krom monks

KKN – Phnom Penh, Cambodia 6 July 2006 — According to a report by a group of Buddhist monks currently staying at Wat Buntumvoti in Phnom Penh Vietnamese border control officials and guards in Long Binh arrested and harassed Khmer Krom Buddhist monks for seeking permission to enter Long Binh market to purchase material for festivities. [Read in Khmer] According to one of monks arrested, aged 28 residing in a temple in Phnom Penh, who requested to keep his name in secrete, said he and seven other monks were travelling to Wat Prak Sbow to meet up with friend to discuss arrangement for their education but they were not there upon their arrival, so they kept on travelling toward the Vietnam-Cambodia border to the Long Binh market on the Vietnamese side to purchase materials for festivities. Upon approval by the Cambodian border guard, they proceed to the Vietnamese border patrol to request permission to enter Vietnam. The Vietnamese border guard told them to go ask permission from the patrol office close by but also was denied entry. The monks have decided to start heading back to Phnom Penh. But when they arrived near the ferry boat, the Vietnamese border guards on motorbikes surrounded the monks, arrested the seven monks and took them back to the office, one monk escaped. Another monk who was arrested, who also wish keep his identify in secrete, interviewed by the Voice of Kampuchea-Krom Radio (VOKK) said “After the chief of the guard refused us entry to Long Binh market, we walk to the ferry to travel back to Phnom Penh. They arrested us and put each monk in separate rooms. They strip search us of our monk robes and interrogate us as though we are murderous criminal. They asked us which province in Kampuchea-Krom (South Vietnam) we came from. They slammed the table and yelled abuses at us … “you barbarian, why are you here? Do you know any high ranking official in Cambodia?”. Afterward they tried to force us to speak Vietnamese, but due to our Vietnamese is not fluent they charged that living in Vietnam but don’t know how to speak Vietnamese?” The same monk added that the Vietnamese guard has confiscated the cash donation, telephone and other valuable items. The interrogation took place from 4:40 pm to 8:30pm. One of the monks who escaped had sought help from the Cambodian border guard to negotiate for their release. The monks appeals the reporters and specially the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation to tell the world that Khmer Krom in Cambodia as well as in Kampuchea Krom are suffering enormously, they are bared from entering Vietnam to visit family and friends to the extend that even monks are forced to bare naked in humiliation. Article from Khmer Krom Network