Why did Holland erase my name?

In mid 2014, I bought farmland in Cambodia. My consultant strongly advised me to put the hard title of the land on my personal name, and not use a side contract with a Cambodian who would be majority owner of the land. The latter had resulted in many fraud cases in which especially many Koreans and Japanese lost the land they assumed to had bought. In Cambodia it is only possible for a Khmer citizen to own more than 49% of a land title. My consultant created a special arrangement in which I could quickly and easily get a Khmer citizenship. But there was one condition: this citizenship had to come with a Khmer name, granted by the King of Cambodia.

Little did I realize that the Netherlands changed the law on dual nationality. As from January 2014 it was no longer allowed for Dutch citizens to apply for a second nationality. And here comes the weird part: the new law described that in case a Dutch citizen would voluntarily take on a second citizenship, he or she would AUTOMATICALLY lose the Dutch nationality.

A year or so later, I learned about this new law, but because I only used my Khmer passport to register farmland, I thought that it would be harmless. Little did I know that my new Vietnamese relationship and his niece cooked up several plans to steal as much money from me, as they could. And also nobody realized that the niece would encourage my back-then boyfriend to commit horrific acts in as well Vietnam as Cambodia, which she could record, and use to blackmail him.

On December 5, 2016 I learned through Facebook of one of these video’s, filmed four months prior on my farm at a time that I was not present, in which they tortured a young kid of one of our farm workers. But I was not the only one, who got the shock of my life. With me, millions of others worldwide heard about this, including Dutch authorities. And while I got involved in a political game in which I was imprisoned and convicted for not reporting a crime to the police within 24 hours, the Dutch authorities notified me, that they would not assist me in any way, because I had taken up the Khmer citizenship and therefore I automatically had lost the Dutch nationality.

After spending eight very long months in a prison room of 30 m2 with 46 other prisoners, I was finally released. And through the Dutch embassy in Thailand I got two months later a visum to travel to Holland.

Arriving in Holland, I got a temporary residence permit, but because I had entered on my only – Khmer – passport with a Khmer name, I could only register myself on my new name: Heng Ly. The friendly staff at the town hall in Rotterdam brought me the sour news: my old name of Stefan Struik would be removed from all the records and replaced by the name Heng Ly.

I applied again for a Dutch citizenship and because for Holland an act of not reporting a four months old crime to the police in 24 hours was not seen as a crime, I was granted the Dutch nationality again. And there I was in early February 2020 at the town hall in Rotterdam: receiving the new Dutch nationality as ‘Heng Ly, born in 1963 in Rotterdam’. A beautiful example of falsification of a person’s history.

From 2020 on, I am walking around with a Dutch passport with the name ‘Heng Ly’. No wonder that so many custom officers and other officials are always questioning this Chinese/ Khmer name belonging to a person with a very Dutch face.

But there is light at the end of this dark tunnel: at the end of 2022 the Dutch court will hear me and hopefully will help me to get back my original name of birth: Stefan Struik. Because the last thing I want, is to be buried under a tombstone that says: “Here rests Heng Ly, formerly known as Stefan Struik.”

Stefan Struik in Switzerland

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