Koh Santepheap News Agency in Battambang Province threatened While Reporting on Water Pollution
Chhum Pisamay, a 52-year-old agent for the Koh Santepheap newspaper in Battambang province, expressed concern as Battambang provincial authorities threatened to file a complaint against him after he repeatedly reported on water pollution caused by Chinese factory in the province.
Mr. Pisamay said that on August 9, 2023, a provincial police officer called to tell him that the Governor of Battambang Province, Mr. Sok Loo, had ordered the police to investigate his background. They said it was done to prepare an incitement complaint regarding his reports about the pollution of the Sangkae River by a Chinese factory. The police officer said that it impacted the authorities.
Mr. Pisamay made a series of reports, both on the Koh Santepheap news website and on his own Facebook page, criticizing the authorities for failing to deal with the river pollution.
On August 10, 2023, the Ministry of Environment was shown evidence that the Chinese factory, Phoenix Industry Co,Ltd, located in Phcheav village, Treng commune, Rattanak Mondul district, Battambang province, really was causing water pollution in Sangkae river.
After the media reported on the problem, they revealed a loss to the river’s water biodiversity, as well as the fact that it had affected many people's livelihood. The Ministry fined the factory more than $ 400,000 and ordered it to move at least 10 kilometers from the mouth of Sangkae river.