Joel Brinkley's recent book, "Cambodia's Curse, The Modern History of a Troubled Land" (Perseus Books Group, 2011) has this mention on page 174:
"...So it was in 2000 when oknya Lao Meng Khin asked to buy the rights to take out the last major forest in Pursat Province, in south-central Cambodia. They agreed on a price, to be paid directly to Hun Sen.
Another oknya, Ly Yong Phat, is also a wealthy senator, actually bought the right to sell off tons of Cambodian land. Singapore was a veracious purchaser of sand; the city used it as landfill to create more real estate. For years it had bought sand from Indonesia, but sucking it from the bottom of the seabed had caused "very severe environmental damage in many Indonesian islands," the Indonesian Foreign Ministry had said. Indonesia banned sand dredging.
Almost right away, oknya Ly Yong Phat bought the right to begin sucking sand from the bottom of Cambodian rivers and seashores, for sale to Singapore. The Phnom Penh Post reported that sand dredgers were at work inside the Peam Krasp Wildlife Sanctuary, among other places. By the summer of 2010 riverbanks were beginning to collapse, dragging boat piers and outbuildings down into the water."
Eventually, Hun Sen issued a "partial ban" on sand dredging, but loopholes allowed the continued sale of contracts as he pleased.
There is no direct translation for oknya in English. The word has its origins in early Khmer, referring to someone who was a devotee of Siva, the Hindu deity. In modern context, it was roughly defined as one of Prime Minister Hun Sen's wealthy cronies. In 1993, Hun Sen decreed that anyone who donated at least $100,000 for "public works projects" would win the oknya title. Holders of the title did favours for the prime minister, usually taking on building projects that help to enhance his own reputation.
A variety of Cambodians and Cambodia experts agree that fundamental change cannot come until Hun Sen leaves the scene. Installed by the Vietnamese in 1985, he was born in 1952, so he could potentially remain in power into the 2020s or '30s. "In 2013, I will be only 61 years old and still firm," he once proclaimed at a university graduation ceremony, "Even now I have already become the longest ruling prime minister in Asia and made a historical record." The other contender for that title may disagree, having been prime minister from 1965 till 1990, and bestowed other titles like Senior Minister and Minister Mentor to have a tug on the puppet strings for several more years. It's one thing to be famous, it's another to be infamous.